Scam artist faces felony charge in North Smithfield after failing deliver $5K AC system


NORTH SMITHFIELD – A Providence man who kept a supposed client waiting for installation of a $5,300 central air system since July is facing felony charges in North Smithfield.

And court records show that for the suspect, it’s just one of several open cases across the state involving various types of impersonation, fraud and counterfeiting.

Joseph Forte, 59, of Providence, has been charged by North Smithfield police with felony obtaining money under false pretenses.

According to the arrest report, the victim, a 49-year-old North Smithfield man, wrote Forte a check for $5,300 in July to install central air at his residence. The man told police Forte kept pushing back the job, and by the time he reported the incident in September, the supposed contractor had stopped answering his phone, and emails were bounced back.

The victim gave police a copy of the check, which had been cashed, along with a contract for services under business name “JA Forte.”

The state criminal database shows that Forte has an extensive criminal history with dozens of ongoing lawsuits and restitution payments from past charges.

In addition to the charge in North Smithfield, his open cases include two charges of passing of counterfeit bonds certificates or notes out of Johnston; obtaining money under false pretenses out of Pawtucket; obtaining a credit card through fraudulent means in Warwick; three charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and obtaining property by false pretenses with the Rhode Island State Police; and nine charges of forgery and counterfeiting, obtaining property by false pretenses and possession of a controlled substance out of Cranston.

He was arrested on a separate warrant in December and released on a $10,000 surety bond. Forte has a pre-arraignment conference on the charge in North Smithfield scheduled for March 29.

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  1. It is so very important to either Google a person on the internet, check your local court dockets for any possible pending charges, and check with your state contractor licensing board, plumbing boards, etc, on any company or person you seek to hire. Reviews also can help. This way, you can get a clearer picture of who you may be dealing with and avoid hiring them.

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