BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman convicted of scamming at-risk adults out of money by promising to fix their kitchens will spend eight years in prison.
Susan Hinojosa learned her sentence in Adams County Court on Friday on charges that include theft from at-risk victims and felony check fraud.
Hinojosa, 57, committed the fraud to pay for her failing business. Hinojosa with her husband owned a company called Kitchens For Less.
There are 27 identified victims in the case, and a majority of them spoke Friday in court about the losses they suffered. Collectively, they lost a total of $140,000.
Many of the victims are older or disabled and said they needed the promised remodeling work done to accommodate for disabilities.
“They would generally request half or full payment up front and the scam comes into play when they don’t use the money to complete those projects,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Robin Cafasso.
Some of them had to take out loans to finish the jobs the Hinojosas allegedly did poorly or started and never finished.
Christine Wilson told CBS4 she contacted the Hinojosas with hopes of making improvements to a house for her disabled mother and her adopted daughter.
“I was promised that the house would be livable and nice. I’d have crown molding and all kinds of bells and whistles,” Wilson said.
She said the Hinojosas knew when they were working with her that they would be filing for bankruptcy soon and didn’t reveal that.
“They took my money knowing that and left a single parent taking care of an elder family member with nothing,” Wilson said. “I had no kitchen and an open sewer line for five months.”
Hinojosa’s husband Herman defended Susan on Friday at the courthouse, saying she’s the best person he’s ever met. He said she hasn’t had so much as a parking ticket.
Herman has been arrested in Texas in 2014 for a probation violation in an unrelated case and has spent time in a federal prison. He is expected to appear in Adams County Court later this month in relation to the Kitchens for Less case.
The district attorney said most of the victims will not recoup all of their losses. Initially, Susan said all she could afford to pay was $25 per month in restitution but the judge noted that she had $51,000 in her bank account. Each victim is expected to receive an average of $5,000.