A Farmingdale man without a contractor’s license was arrested Tuesday after he took $5,915 last year to renovate a couple’s kitchen but never did any work, the Nassau County district attorney’s office said.
But Konstantine Sousouris, 39, said he never purported to be a home improvement contractor and that he is friendly with the East Meadow couple who paid him to have a marble countertop purchased and cut from someone he knew in the business.
“The money was not for work for his house,” Sousouris said. “The money was for me to order the material he wanted for his kitchen.”
Sousouris, who said he owns a Greek restaurant, was released on his own recognizance after being arraigned on a charge of third-degree grand larceny, a felony, and operating a home improvement business without a license, a misdemeanor.
Prosecutors said the couple had contracted last March with K.S. Sousouris Inc. and gave him the money the following month to buy materials.
But Sousouris canceled several appointments to deliver materials and gave several excuses, from broken machinery to problems with employees, authorities said. He never provided any proof that materials were ordered or that work started, prosecutors said.
On Monday, he reimbursed the couple — only because he had learned of his imminent arrest, prosecutors said.
According to Sousouris, he gave them the money out of his own pocket Monday because they were moving out of town soon. He said the couple asked for a refund last year when the marble slab was two weeks late due to a shipping problem, but by the time they asked, the stone had already been cut to fit their kitchen and the countertop fabricator balked at a refund.
Sousouris said is not a home improvement contractor but has been in the restaurant business since he was 17.
He said he still considers the East Meadow couple his friends: “We actually had pizza when I paid him back. . . . He was asking me about my son, how my wife is. I was asking him about his family.”
It was a “shock” when the district attorney’s office called him later Monday about his arrest, Sousouris said, and he surrendered at the district attorney’s Mineola office Tuesday.
He said he gave prosecutors a copy of a notarized affidavit signed by the couple, saying he was not hired as a contractor and that they had been refunded.
Sousouris declined to provide a copy of the affidavit and the name of the countertop fabricator.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas urged homeowners to contact her office or the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs if they’ve been victimized by contractors.
“Crooked contractors prey on overly trusting homeowners and it is important that customers ask to see a copy of the business license and appropriate insurance paperwork of the company,” she said.
Records on K.S. Sousouris Inc. were not clear on the nature of the business.