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Former hardware store owner charged with fraud

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has charged Erik Joseph, the former owner of Seaport Hardware in South Boston, of larceny and fraud in a scheme involving his customer’s credit card numbers. The 46-count indictment, announced on Dec. 19, involves $290,894 in fraudulent charges. The investigation is ongoing.

“The amount of evidence was so massive that the sitting grand jury only had time to hear testimony regarding American Express transactions,” the announcement said. “Visa, MasterCard and debit transactions will be heard by another grand jury.”

According to the district attorney’s office, Joseph began the scam in 2001 and continued it for the next six years. Prosecutors believe he set up dozens of shell businesses, each with its own credit card merchant number, bank account routing number and mailing address. Using the credit card numbers of his hardware store’s customers, Joseph would then key in transactions that billed unsuspecting cardholders for multiple sales that were just under $200, according to the charges.

At the beginning of the scheme, Joseph would wait four to six months before billing the victims, the indictment said. In 2006 and 2007, the time delay disappeared and accounts were being maxed out within days of the cardholders’ visits to Seaport Hardware. Once the credit card company had transferred funds to the bank account linked to the transaction, Joseph would drain the account and leave the victims unable to reclaim the money, according to the charges.

Joseph was arrested on Nov. 27 at his home. His arraignment is set for Jan. 15.

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Founder of ABC Supply dies in accident at home

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ken Hendricks, founder, chairman and CEO of ABC Supply, passed away in the early morning hours of Dec. 21 after falling from a construction site at his home. Hendricks was 66 years old.

The cause of death was a massive head injury. Hendricks died in surgery following the accident on Thursday evening.

Hendricks started his career as a roofer and went on to found the industry’s largest distributor of roofing materials, with 390 locations in 46 states. Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply also distributes siding, windows and other exterior building materials. The company ranked fifth on HCN’s Top 350 Pro Dealer scoreboard in 2007.

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St.-Gobain targets Denmark, Estonia

BY HBSDEALER Staff

St.-Gobain, one of the largest global distributors of building materials, has announced its plans to acquire the building materials division of DLH Group of Denmark. Reuters reported the purchase price as $115.5 million.

The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, would bring St.-Gobain 18 outlets and a logistics center in Denmark, where DLH is the third largest player in the building materials industry.

St.-Gobain is also in exclusive talks with Famar Desi, the leading building materials distributor in Estonia. Famar Desi’s network includes 16 locations, including two in Latvia. Also subject to regulatory approval, the deal would establish St.-Gobain’s first building materials operations in those countries.

St.-Gobain’s building materials distribution network includes more than 4,000 outlets in 24 countries.

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