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Merrick contractor arraigned on charges he operated without a license, prosecutors say

A Merrick contractor, who authorities said did shoddy work installing a home heating system, was arraigned Monday on charges that he operated a business without a license, Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Russell Martini, 38, was arraigned on the unclassified misdemeanor in a Mineola courtroom. His plea was not immediately available. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 10.

Martini faces up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000, if convicted.

Martini, who did business as Service Masters, met with a Freeport homeowner between Nov. 6, 2013 and April 30, 2014 and entered into a $47,500 contract to install a geothermal heat pump system in the three-story home.

The victim paid $25,000 to Martini, who included a 10-year warranty on the system and a 5-year warranty on piping installation, wiring and duct work, prosecutors said.

But the work was performed incorrectly and had to be redone, prosecutors said. The victim claimed the project damaged the walls and flooring.

Martini is facing similar charges in six other open cases from 2012 in East Meadow; Hicksville; Levittown; Massapequa; Manhasset and Roosevelt, where prosecutors said he did business as Mechanical Service Masters and Air Comfort.

He has conditionally pleaded guilty in five of those cases and is expected to pay restitution ranging from several hundred dollars to about $5,000.

Martini's attorney Robert McDonald of Mineola couldn't be reached. Prosecutors encourage anyone who believes they have been taken advantage of by an unlicensed contractor or know of a victim to call the Nassau district attorney's office tip line at 516-571-7755.

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