Unlicensed Contractor Charged with Stealing $10K from Clients

Unlicensed Contractor Charged with Stealing $10K from Clients

An unlicensed Flushing contractor has been charged with bilking three Queens homeowners out of $10,000 in down payments for air-conditioning and other work to be performed at their residences, which he failed to do or return the money. Additionally, he allegedly misrepresented himself as being licensed to do the work for which he was hired although he is not licensed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Alfred Lakas, 57, who allegedly did business as Al’s Heating, was arraigned last Tuesday on a 10-count criminal complaint charging him with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree scheme to defraud, petit larceny, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and three counts of violating the city’s administrative code. Lakas was ordered held on $5,000 bail and to return to court on Sept. 15.

According to the charges, Lakas is accused of misrepresenting himself as licensed and qualified to perform air-conditioning, heating and other home contracting work between Feb. 28, 2012 and June 23, 2015.

In one instance, Brown said, a South Ozone Park homeowner met with Lakas on Feb. 28, 2012, and agreed to pay him $7,000 to install central air conditioning in his house. Lakas, who allegedly informed the homeowner that he was a licensed contractor, accepted $3,000 from the homeowner but did not do any of the work he had been hired to do and did not return the money to the homeowner.

Last week, a detective assigned to the Queens DA’s Detective Squad executed a search warrant at Lakas’s residence and allegedly recovered three boxes of business records, including contracts, estimates, work orders, customer contract information, copies of checks and tax records from “Al’s Heating.”

“At this time of year when many homeowners do home repairs, consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor,” Brown said. “Defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints my office receives. To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and check with the proper city agencies to ensure that he is licensed—and not just take his word for it.”

Anyone who may have been a victim—or knows someone who may have been a victim of this alleged scheme—is asked to contact the Queens DA’s Economic Crimes Bureau at (718) 286-6673.



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