A.G. Schneiderman Announces Jail Sentence For Fraudulent Western New York Home Contractor
George Anna Violated Court Order Obtained By A.G. Schneiderman By Failing To Provide Services For Which He’d Been Paid
Schneiderman: This Sentence Sends The Message That Violating Court Orders And Preying Upon Innocent New Yorkers Will Not Be Tolerated
BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that Justice John F. O’Donnell sentenced George Anna, a Western New York home improvement contractor, to 90 days in jail. In 2012, the Attorney General obtained a court order barring Anna from the home improvement business unless he first posted a $100,000 performance bond. In the 2012 case, the Attorney General proved that, time and time again, Anna took money from consumers and failed to provide the home improvement services for which he had been paid.
Recently, Attorney General Schneiderman’s office learned that Anna was again holding himself out as a home contractor, despite never having posted the bond. An investigation by the Attorney General showed that, despite the court order, Anna again was taking money for home improvements, but not providing the services – the very conduct that led to the court order in the first place. In addition to imprisonment, the Court further required that Anna pay a fine of $30,000.
“Despite a court order that explicitly barred him from doing so, George Anna chose to blatantly take advantage of hardworking New Yorkers yet again,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “His prison sentence and fine send the message that ignoring a court order and preying upon innocent consumers will not be tolerated.”
Attorney General Schneiderman offers the following tips for consumers dealing with home contractors:
- Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are door-to-door marketing;
- Determine exactly what you want done, then seek out a qualified contractor;
- Shop around: get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided;
- Ask for references: check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors; always contact any references provided to you;
- Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed;
- Do not pay unreasonable advance sums: negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job; never pay the full price up front; and
- Remember that you have three days to cancel after signing a home improvement contract, but all cancellations must be in writing.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General James Morrissey and Karen Davis, Senior Consumer Fraud Representative in the Buffalo Regional Office, which is led by Michael Russo, Assistant Attorney General in Charge. The Buffalo Regional Office is a part of the Division of Regional Offices, led by Marty Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices.