Bristol Man Arrested for Defrauding Customers
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that David Conrad, 42, of Bristol, Vermont was arrested yesterday following his indictment for conducting a wire fraud scheme between approximately January of 2022 and February 28, 2023. Conrad will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle.
According to court records, David Conrad operated a custom woodworking business operating under the names “Old Camp Woodworking” and “Vermont Custom Designs.” Conrad was the sole employee of the business, which he operated out of the two-car garage attached to his residence in Bristol, Vermont. Conrad advertised his businesses on Facebook, and had stand-alone websites which allowed customers to place orders for custom wood items, such as dining tables, dressers, bedroom sets, desks, and other items. Parts of these websites were plagiarized from other woodworking websites, and some of the photographs on the websites were not original photographs of custom pieces crafted by Conrad, but rather copies of photographs from elsewhere on the internet. Conrad’s websites displayed strict cancelation and refund policies, listing a 25% processing fee for orders canceled within 24 hours; a 75% processing fee for orders canceled within 30 days; and no refunds for orders canceled after 30 days.
Between January 2022 and February 2023, Conrad accepted approximately $165,500 through various payment methods for over 100 different items ordered by customers in Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. As part of the scheme to defraud, Conrad accepted payment for items he knew he could not complete within the 12-to-16-week timeframe he quoted customers. Conrad made numerous false statements to customers regarding the status of their orders and regarding why orders had not been completed (including false claims of having had a heart attack and cutting off a portion of his finger). Conrad used his strict refund policy as a reason to retain funds from customers, despite not having begun work on their orders. Conrad used funds obtained from customers to pay for his and his family’s personal expenses, while knowing that he would be unable to complete the custom-made wood item ordered by the customer from whom the funds were obtained. The grand jury’s indictment alleges five specific fraudulent transactions that involved interstate wires.
The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an Indictment contains allegations only and that Conrad remains presumed innocent until and unless he is convicted of a crime. Conrad faces a maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, and restitution to the victims, on each alleged count. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts of Homeland Security Investigations, Vergennes Police Department, and Vermont State Police and also thanks the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program for its assistance in compiling consumer complaints and their collaborative work on this investigation.
The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt. Conrad is represented by Chandler Matson, Esq.
Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer:
Updated March 17, 2023