An unlicensed contractor from Pennsylvania was arrested Monday after prosecutors said he stole thousands of dollars from Nassau County homeowners after allegedly promising air conditioning repairs that never took place, the Nassau County DA’s office said Feb. 24.
Charles Ganzenmuller, 38, of Lords Valley, Pa., was in court Monday after being charged with third-degree and fourth-degree grand larceny, scheme to defraud and operating a home improvement business without a license.
Prosecutors allege he bilked more than $15,000 from homeowners in Nassau County between January and May 2012. A district attorney’s office spokesman said the victims were “referred” to Ganzenmuller through an online directory and then met with the victims at their homes, where he would pick up down payments.
Ganzenmuller, investigators said, claimed to own “Allied Air Conditioning” in January 2012 when he signed a contract with a Massapequa Park homeowner to procure and install a new boiler. The victim paid $2,000 as a down payment, but Ganzenmuller never performed any work, according to authorities.
In May 2012, he allegedly was contracted by an East Meadow couple after saying he owned a different company, “Assured Air Conditioning.” The couple gave an initial $7,800 payment for interior and exterior air conditioning units and perform other contracting work at their home, the DA’s office said. Ganzenmuller cashed their check, laid some duct work in the house, but never provided any of the air conditioning units, which the couple had already paid for, the DA said.
Authorities allege Ganzenmuller pulled off a similar scam just a few days later when he entered into a contractor with an East Rockaway homeowner. In that case, prosecutors said he was paid $5,400 for contracting work and interior and exterior cooling units, but never performed any work or provided any materials for the job.
Each of the homeowners contacted the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs after unsuccessfully trying to get their deposits refunded, a spokesman for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice said. The consumer affairs agency referred the cases to the district attorney’s office after determining Ganzenmuller and his companies were unlicensed.
A spokeswoman for the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs said the agency could not comment, citing the district attorney’s office investigation.
“Contractors who blatantly and repeatedly disregard signed contracts with homeowners, as well as flout licensing rules, have no place doing business in Nassau County,” Rice said in announcing the criminal charges.
Ganzenmuller was released Monday without bail and was ordered to return to court on Feb. 27. If convicted, he faces up to seven years behind bars.