Homeowners love working on their houses, but they have to be careful. According to a Houzz survey from 2013, 84% of respondents planned to decorate or redecorate, 40% planned to remodel or build an addition, and 10% of participants were in the process of building a custom home. However, not all contractors are as trustworthy as they should be, as homeowners in Connecticut recently discovered.
Police arrested two brothers who are accused of home improvement fraud, and of stealing from a woman who’d hired them to do work on her house.
Wesley and David Zaino approached an elderly woman living alone about doing some work on her house, according to police. She paid them almost $50,000 between June 2014 and March 2015 to replace her roof, paint, put up curtains, refinish the floors, fix sidewalks, install electrical wiring, and make other upgrades.
They did little of the work promised, and what they did do was of such poor quality that it couldn’t even pass an inspection. For example, they stripped half of the shingles from her roof, and covered it “haphazardly” with a tarp, which consequently caused water damage.
An investigation also revealed that the two brothers weren’t licensed contractors, and didn’t have the proper permits required to work on the woman’s home.
While working on the house, the Zaino brothers allegedly stole her jewelry, and sold it at area pawn shops. Wesley Zaino allegedly took $5,700 worth of jewelry, and David Zaino took about $1,000 worth, which police were able to recover a portion of.
The brothers couldn’t account for where the money the woman paid them went.
Authorities are continuing to investigate, as police believe the Zaino brothers may have others victims.
Before having any contractor work done to a house, police warn homeowners to verify the contractors’ credentials first, and to head to the website of the state’s Department of Consumer Protection to verify the contractor’s licensing in order to avoid being conned.