BALLSTON SPA — A rumpled man sat in the back row of the Saratoga County courthouse on Tuesday, waiting for his criminal case to be called. His was third on the docket, after the arraignment of a sex offender facing charges of child pornography and the sentencing of a drunken driver. The man, Paul J. Newman, thought back to his old life, one that ended April 17, with his arrest.
“It was good,” Newman, 49, said. “It was good.”
He was a respected figure in the Capital Region’s construction industry, a draftsman, graphic artist and architect on projects as small as renovations to a jeweler’s store and as large as a senior community. He lived with his wife and two sons in a custom-built home he designed in Troy. He coached Little League, football and baseball.
But nearly all of it was built on a lie.
He was not an architect. He did not carry the required state license. The rubber stamp he used that read “Registered Architect, State of New York” was a fake.
The stamp, forged signatures, false paperwork — they were like the scaffolding of a building of his own design, one with no firm foundation.
The obvious question: Why? Why didn’t he get the license? Why would a successful man risk everything, finally winding up in handcuffs, the butt of a “Seinfeld” joke from the state’s attorney general?
“Those who wish to game the system and take advantage of New Yorkers should take note: no license, no work for you,” the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said in a written statement.
There was no single and simple answer. Corners were cut, rules were bent. No one noticed. Life…
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