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Couple accused of window installing fraud scheme

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - A local couple is locked up Wednesday after being charged in a massive business fraud case.

The Queensbury couple is locked up behind me following a multi-agency investigation.

The man and wife are accused of defrauding customers all over the country, pocketing more than $1.2 million.

Robert Mirel, 72, and 65-year-old Debra Burnett called their product Arlington Manipulators, a name that authorities say also reflects the selfish business practices the two owners undertook. 

It was in 2014 when the Warren County Sheriff's office began investigating the company. 

"The 10 or 11 customers that we dealt with indicated they had sent well over half a million dollars to this company and received no product in return,” Warren County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Steven Stockdale said.

The company manufactured machines used to install huge glass windows on high-rise buildings. It was a product with a potential to revolutionize the industry.

"Had this been a legitimate business enterprise, the idea was sound, it was solid, it was groundbreaking for the industry and he would have made all the money that he stole, and then some, if he had just produced the machines."

Investigators discovered the fraud case expanded well beyond Warren County. 

Customers all over the country lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Mirel and Burnett reportedly shortchanged their local employees, who had invested six figures of their own cash to buy materials.  

A massive business scheme, according to law enforcement,  that continued for at least five years.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to the Attorney General’s Office and investigative staff but their analysts were invaluable. They were able to uncover a great deal of information that led to the realization that this was a huge financial enterprise.

Mirel is in custody on $500,000 cash bail and $100,000 cash bail was set for Burnett.

If convicted, they're looking at five to 15 years in prison.


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