Friday March 15, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

SALEM, N.Y. -- A man who runs a solar and wind power installation company has been charged with defrauding a Salem woman out of $38,000.

Washington County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Tony LeClaire said Allan "Rick" Anderson, 48, of Melrose, owner of Titan Power Systems, was charged earlier this week with third degree grand larceny. Anderson has since posted bail and been freed from Washington County Jail. He pleaded not guilty out of the Kingsbury Court, said police, but the case is being handled currently in Salem Town Court.

According to LeClaire in 2011 Anderson agreed to install solar panels at a woman’s home for a total cost of nearly $40,000. Anderson did about $2,000 in work and collected $34,000 from the woman.

LeClaire said the project was being done through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which reimburses the contractor for work done once NYSERDA inspects the completed effort and finds it up to standards. The savings, which can be half or two-thirds the cost of the project, are passed on to the customer, LeClaire said, but in this case Anderson was paid directly by the alleged victim.

It’s possible Anderson may face more charges in Washington County, said LeClaire. The New York Office of the Attorney General is also doing its own investigation into projects Allen had worked on in the past in various towns and counties. Calls to the Attorney General’s Office seeking comment were not returned.

WNYT reported in February that a Hoosick family, the Holbritters, had hired Titan Power Systems to install a wind turbine on their property in 2010 and paid him $8,300. The Holbritters told WNYT that the device never worked and they had been unable to contact Titan Power Systems. Calls to the Holbritter home were not returned.

A phone number listed on the Web for Titan Power Systems LLC based in Melrose was disconnected.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr