SANTA FE (KRQE) - A former Santa Fe home builder accused of cheating dozens of people out of millions of dollars now has a warrant out for his arrest after not showing up to court.
William Kalinowski was indicted on fraud and embezzlement charges in September for allegedly taking off with millions of dollars that was supposed to help build homes around 2007 and 2008. News 13 investigative reporter Larry Barker first introduced Kalinowski in May.
On Monday, Kalinowski was scheduled to make his first court appearance. Two alleged victims in the case, Stefan Lark and Michael D’Alfonso, originally sat in on the proceeding in Santa Fe District Court, expecting to see Kalinowski arraigned.
“I think everybody's relieved to finally be here and watch the process play out,” said D’Alfonso.
D’Alfonso and Lark claim they each lost more than a half-million dollars to Kalinowski after he promised them he would build luxury homes in Santa Fe. The two say dozens of other New Mexican contractors, home buyers and investors in and around Santa Fe were bilked as well for a total of $11 million.
“You know just to be here is, there's some satisfaction that there's finally something moving forward,” said Lark.
But the first step in the courtroom for Kalinowski's case didn't happen today.
“He's not here. He's out of state,” said Lark.
According to a state prosecutor with New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department, Kalinowski was a “no show” in court because he’s still in Massachusetts.
Kalinowski apparently filed a waiver last week to dismiss his arraignment Monday. However, Judge Stephen Pfeffer rejected it, instead, filing a warrant for Kalinowski’s arrest and a $20,000 cash-only bond.
D'Alfonso and Lark say it has taken five long years to get to this point. Both have filed for bankruptcy because of the money they lost doing business Kalinowski.
“At this point, it’s in the state’s hands, which is kind of good for us because for the last five years we've been a part of this process and it’s taken a lot of time and energy,” said D’Alfonso.
The state gathered boxes of evidence in the case between 2008 and 2010. However, the case was closed in early 2011, the state citing Kalinowsky did not “financially benefit” from the case. In a 2013 interview with News 13's Barker, Superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department Dee Dennis said that the case was a “failed investment.”
However, once Barker questioned Dennis further, he chose to reopen the case.
While Kalinowski didn’t make it to court Monday, D'Alfonso and Lark say they're not worried about the case stalling out.
Kalinowski is facing 10 second degree felony counts of embezzlement and fraud. Each carries a maximum of nine years in prison.
The state attorney working the case says until Kalinowski is in custody, the case is “pretty much” on hold. It's unclear whether the state will try to get Massachusetts authorities to arrest Kalinowski or if he'll turn himself in.
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