Scottdale contractor jailed on home improvement fraud charges in 3 counties

A Westmoreland County judge on Wednesday ordered a Scottdale contractor accused of bilking customers in three Southwestern Pennsylvania counties to remain in jail pending the outcome of his pending criminal cases.

Jason Ray Pirl, 41, was taken into custody Tuesday by Westmoreland County deputy sheriffs following a three-week search that ended in a parking lot near Smithton.

Pirl is accused of multiple thefts in 13 cases filed in Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties. Investigators said he took more than $250,000 from customers for work that he never completed.

Investigators in Westmoreland County said Pirl is accused of bilking three customers, including one woman who claimed she paid Pirl $20,500 in December 2020 for remodeling and roofing work.

Pirl claimed he used that money to pay living expenses as he recovered from a heart attack and surgery, according to court records.

He was again charged in September by state police on allegations he took money from a Hempfield woman for services not performed.

Court documents list a Scottdale address for Pirl, who was free on bail. But Sheriff James Albert indicated Pirl was believed to be living out of his vehicle in an attempt to elude capture after a warrant was issued for his arrest in October.

Prosecutors claim Pirl violated terms of his pretrial probation when additional charges were filed against him earlier this year.

Westmoreland Deputy Sheriff John Dixon testified during a court hearing Wednesday that investigators initially staked out Pirl’s home in Scottdale on Nov. 23 with no success. A confidential informant notified deputies that Pirl was working as a flagman for a local construction company, and an investigation using GPS trackers found his work-owned truck in the parking lot near a truck stop in Smithton.

“We saw someone in the vehicle in a reclined position. He got up, started the vehicle and started to drive it forward. Deputies drew their weapons and ordered him to stop,” Dixon testified.

Pirl, who attended Wednesday’s court hearing from the county jail via video conferencing, disputed Dixon’s account.

“I never knew I had a warrant out for me. I was out working,” Pirl said.

Pirl asked to be released to house arrest and granted work release, a request the judge denied but said he might reconsider at a later date and after other detainers in Fayette County are resolved.

“I have been working every day to take care of this,” Pirl said.


• East Huntingdon man facing more fraud charges over money taken for work not done
• Police: East Huntingdon contractor again accused of taking money for remodel work never started

Court documents indicate Pirl was charged in March with eight previous home improvement fraud violations in Westmoreland County — including alleged incidents in Hempfield, East Huntingdon, Rostraver, Penn and South Huntingdon townships and in Scottdale. Those incidents were reported between January 2020 and March 2021.

Pirl faces a Dec. 8 preliminary hearing on the most recent charges filed against him in September.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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