A Flushing man is spending up to five years in prison after admitting in court earlier this month to defrauding Queens homeowners out of thousands.
Alfred Lakas, 63, of 172nd Street, originally arrested back in June of 2015, pleaded guilty on March 5 of this year to third-degree grand larceny. The former owner of Al’s Plumbing had misrepresented himself as a licensed contractor to homeowners in order to secure lofty deposits for major construction work, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
“And once he had gained their confidence, he conned the victims out of thousands of dollars,” Brown said. “Consumers should be vigilant when hiring home improvement contractors by checking references and verifying licenses with the proper city agencies.”
According to the charges, Lakas bilked five different Queens homeowners out of $15,000 in deposits for promised construction work. To each client, he had presented himself as a contractor licensed to perform work in air conditioning, heating and other home construction.
In one instance, prosecutors said, Lakas met with a South Ozone Park homeowner back in February 2012 and had agreed to install a central air conditioning system for $7,000. He convinced the homeowner to provide him with a $3,000 deposit for the work, but failed to do the job and did not return the deposit.
More than a year later, in another episode, Lakas similarly bilked a homeowner in the Douglaston/Little Neck area in April 2013. Law enforcement sources said that they reached an agreement for $5,000 in cash to convert another house that the homeowner owned from oil heat to gas. Lakas accepted a $2,500 down payment, but neither did any of the work nor returned the deposit upon request.
At his sentencing hearing on March 27, Lakas was ordered to serve between 2 1/2 and 5 years behind bars. Lakas also signed “confession of judgments” to the five victims totaling $15,000.