DA: Unlicensed contractor stole $10,000 from Merrick couple
An unlicensed contractor from Centereach was arrested Wednesday on charges that he stole $10,000 from a Merrick couple for kitchen renovation work he never performed, Nassau County prosecutors said.
Gregory Vadjinia, 45, faces charges of third-degree grand larceny and operating a home improvement business without a license, prosecutors said. If convicted, he faces up to 7 years in prison.
Nassau County District Court Judge Joy Watson on Wednesday ordered Vadjinia held on $5,000 cash bail or bond, online court records show.
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that in December 2012 Vadjinia approached the victims, a senior couple "for whom he had performed electrical and flooring work a month earlier."
"Vadjinia, an unlicensed contractor doing business out of his home as 2nd Chance Design, offered to install a new kitchen in their home for $21,000," Rice's office said in a news release. "The female homeowner agreed and was taken to a kitchen supply store by Vadjinia to pick out new cabinet doors and other materials."
The woman gave Vadjinia a $10,000 check "as a down payment on the contract," prosecutors said, and he cashed the check but never returned to do the work.
The couple never received the cabinet doors and other materials, and Vadjinia "didn't return repeated calls from the victims," prosecutors said.
The county's consumer affairs office referred the case to prosecutors in May, Rice said.
"Mr. Vadjinia targeted this couple specifically because he thought that they would be easy marks, but his arrest is the direct result of their refusal to be victimized," Rice said in a statement. "Unlicensed contractors can cause more damage than they were hired to repair, so it is essential that anyone looking to hire a contractor do their homework."