WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Dec. 28, 2022, the Watervliet Police Department investigated a complaint from a 75-year-old resident who said they were approached by Joseph N. Celeone, 40, of Troy, posing as a Watervliet city employee. Celeone allegedly told the victim that their driveway was in violation of the Watervliet City Code and would result in fines if not immediately repaired. As a result, police say the victim paid Celeone $3,000 for unnecessary repairs.
Watervliet Police charged Celeone with fourth-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal impersonation. He was arraigned in Watervliet City Court and released on an appearance ticket.
“This offender demonstrated a shamelessness that is often a routine characteristic of criminals that target vulnerable populations in our communities,” said Watervliet Police Chief Joseph Centanni. “We commend the victim for notifying police which was pivotal in helping the department locate the defendant and prevent him from adding someone else to his list. The Watervliet Police Department will continue to relentlessly pursue the felons responsible for these morally evil acts and bring them to justice.”
A spokesperson for Watervliet Police noted that, in standard practice, government representatives do not offer services or ask for payment to correct code violations. In cases similar to this one, scammers defraud and intimidate victims with time-sensitive demands that are professionally executed, they said.
Detectives are trying to find out if Celeone has victimized other people under similar circumstances. Anyone with information is asked to call Watervliet Police Detectives at (518) 270-3892.