A jury trial underway in 8th Judicial District Court is expected to conclude Tuesday. Chad Alan Cappiello, a remodel/repair contractor who also uses the alias Chad Russell, is being tried on two counts of Theft of Property more than $1,500 but less than $20,000. This is not his first day in court for an offense related to this type of theft.
In opening remarks Monday morning, Assistant District Attorney Clay Harrison noted that Cappiello changed his name from Chad Russell to Chadley Cappiello and then then Chad Cappiello over the past 23 years. However, he uses both the last name Russell and Cappiello as it suits the opportunity to defraud individuals of money in remodeling and/or repair schemes. His current wife Kristi Cappiello also uses her maiden name as a telemarketer for their business ventures. Harrison pointed out that when anyone attempted to find the location of the business, they were unable to locate the Cappiellos’ due to masking websites, email origination, and the use of cell phones. He stated that attempts to go to addresses listed for the company were fruitless. Even the managers or owners of the buildings where their listed address would take the individual seeking to get a refund for work had no knowledge of the business. An internet search performed by KSST News shows shows Cappiello has been charged in several counties on similar charges. He has been found not guilty in several instances.
Cappiello has operated in various areas of the state and his been charged in several counties, some without success for the prosecution. The local case focuses on charges filed and an indictment rendered by a Hopkins County Grand Jury regarding the theft of property, to be exact, money paid for work never completed in a home remodel in Como.
Harrison’s first witness for the prosecution was Delia Snyder of Bell County Texas said Russell/Cappiello took checks for work but that no work was done. Her parents eventually lost their home of 43 years after they mortgaged the hope to pay for a remodel that did not take place. In July, 2016, Cappiello made a plea of no contest in District Court in Bell County. The plea means the family cannot use his “no contest” in a civil suit to recoup any of the money lost. Cappiello is on probation for the Bell County charge.
The afternoon session in 8th Judicial District Court began with Andrew Wyatt, professional cabinet builder and sub-contractor from Tyler on the stand. Wyatt had initially worked a job in Tyler for Cappiello and was paid for his work. Wyatt said the defendant had used that job to hook him into other jobs for which he was never paid by the defendant.
According to Julie Doss, a witness for the prosecution and the homeowner in Como, in May 2015 she saw an advertisement that directed her to a website which introduced her to Cappiello. He used the name Russell presenting her with a business card and eventually a contract with the name Chad Russell typed on the contract. He later brought another sub-contractor to her house to measure for cabinets to replace those in the kitchen. She stated that he wore a suit on his first visit and drove an SUV. Doss presented Cappiello with a check for 10% down and later a second check for 50% for the cabinets and other items for the kitchen. Both checks had been cashed. Eventually, she would call the cabinet maker and be told that he had not been paid to build the cabinets. In June, she and her mother boxed the kitchen and took apart the kitchen in preparation for the remodel to start in June, 2015. By November, they had to reassemble their kitchen to prepare a Thanksgiving meal that they share every year with their neighbors, many of whom have no family with whom to share the day. Doss said she called the company on several occasions regarding the work but each time Cappiello/Russel was unavailable. After Christmas his company continued to put off Ms. Doss. She had also been told that the house must be leveled before the work could be performed.
Doss had asked if another could perform the work at her home but was told that “Chad would want to handle it”. Shortly after, she began to ask for a refund. That is when her calls to Capiello’s business were no longer returned.
The trial will continue Tuesday and Harrison expects the state to rest its case before noon. He expects the defense to call two witnesses and then the jury will be given the case for a verdict.