Tag Archives: contractor

Flushing contractor busted in home improvement scam

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

A Flushing contractor has been charged with scamming $10,000 in down payments from Queens homeowners for work he never performed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Alfred Lakas, 57, allegedly took money from three homeowners for air-conditioning and other work to be done at their residences which he failed to do, and did not return any of the money. Lakas, who operates Al’s Heating on 172nd Street in Flushing, is also being charged with misrepresenting himself as being licensed to do the work, although he is not.

Lakas was arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll on ten counts, charging him with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud, among other offenses.

He was ordered to be held on $5,000 bail and will return to court on Sept. 15. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

According to Brown, Lakas is accused of misrepresenting himself as a licensed professional to perform air-conditioning, heating and other contracting work from February 2012 to June 2015. His complaining victims are three homeowners respectively from South Ozone Park, Douglaston-Little Neck and Kew Gardens.

Brown said consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor, and that cases like this one are a pervasive problem.

“Defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints my office receives,” the district attorney said. “To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and check with the proper city agencies to ensure that he is licensed — and not just take his word for it.”

The District Attorney’s office is urging anyone who may have been a victim of this alleged scheme to call the Queens District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.


‘Contractor to the stars’ in Maspeth

| nkarimi@queenscourier.com


DIY [Do-It-Yourself] Network’s show “Million Dollar Contractor” focuses on the details, the materials and the amount of money clients spend to allow Stephen Fanuka, the “Contractor to the Stars,” to create million-dollar projects.

The half-hour long series premieres on Sunday, October 16 at 10 p.m. It gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the spaces and construction of Manhattan’s luxury homes.

“I’ll give you the inside track on the fast-paced world of high-end interior residential renovations,” said Fanuka, whose company, Fankuka Inc., began 17 years ago in College Point and is now located on 56th Avenue in Maspeth. “With ‘Million Dollar Contractor,’ I’ll show you the way the best designers, architects and vendors think outside the box while giving you the know-how to do it yourself or hire the right contractor. Your home is your castle, and I’ll show you how to treat it like one.”

Fanuka is well known for his work with top designers, architects and celebrity clientele, including Thom Filicia, Nate Berkus, Tyra Banks, Tony Bennett and Michael J. Fox.

“I worked hard at being the go-to guy for the best clients in the world and eventually the name [‘Contractor to the Stars’] just came about. You have to earn that title. You can’t aspire to it.” said Fanuka.

During each episode, Fanuka takes his clients’ “wish list” and turns them into reality. He will turn a $10 million, three-bedroom penthouse in Manhattan’s West Village into a bachelor pad with a 700-pound walnut pivot door to change the shape and flow of the condo.

The show will also include an apartment on the Upper East Side, featuring handmade Venetian plaster moldings, custom pocket doors, Fanuka’s trademark custom cabinetry, Thassos pure white marble and LED hallway lights.

“The premise of the show is that the ‘Million Dollar Contractor’ isn’t all about money. It’s about the million dollar look. We all deserve the million dollar look and now you will know how to have it in your home,” said Fanuka.

Although his clients differ in tastes and styles, they all have one thing in common – they expect the transformation to be perfect. Although it’s not always smooth, Fanuka pulls out all the stops to create the kind of end result that satisfies even the toughest critics.

“There are no scripts [in the show] and we give it to you like it is real time and real life. All those magazine photos of beautiful homes and rooms always credit the interior designer and architect. Now it’s time to salute the men and contractors that make it a reality,” said Fanuka.