Grand Larceny Sentencing
An unlicensed Flushing contractor has been sentenced to up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to grand larceny, the Queens district attorney said.
Alfred Lakas, 63, who lives on 172nd Street, collected thousands of dollars from homeowners in South Ozone Park and Douglaston for air conditioning and other work to be performed at their residences, but failed to do any repairs and refused to return the money.
Lakas pleaded guilty on March 5 to third-degree grand larceny. On Monday, Acting Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron sentenced the defendant to two-and-a-half to five years in prison. The defendant also signed confession of judgments to the five victims for a total of $15,000.
According to the charges, Lakas presented himself as a licensed and qualified contractor who specialized in air conditioning, heating and other home contracting work.
In February 2012, he met with a South Ozone Park homeowner, who agreed to pay him $7,000 to install central air conditioning in his house. The defendant claimed to be licensed and accepted a $3,000 deposit from the homeowner. But Lakas failed to do any of the work and did not return the money he had received.
In April 2013, the defendant met with a Douglaston homeowner, who agreed to pay Lakas $5,000 to convert another house owned by the victim from oil heat to gas heat. Lakas informed the homeowner that he was a licensed contractor, accepted a down payment of $2,500 and did not complete any of the work. He also did not return the money to the homeowner.
A total of five homeowners were bilked out of a total $15,000 by the defendant, the DA said.
“Consumers should be vigilant when hiring home improvement contractors by checking references and verifying licenses with the proper city agencies,” Brown said. “In pleading guilty, the defendant has admitted to scamming the homeowners and has now been sentenced to a term of incarceration as punishment for his crimes.”