Imagine handing over a check to a contracting company expecting a new fireplace, and never getting it.
That’s what happened to one York County couple and now they’re out thousands of dollars.
That company’s owner is now facing theft charges.
Greg Deaver and his wife Joni paid Fireplace City in York $4,600 on May 1st to have a fireplace built from scratch.
Fireplace City came to their home to scope out the work, wrote a contract, and Greg signed on the dotted line, that same day.
Fireplace City cashed the check that day but Greg and Joni never received the work that was promised.
The attorney for the owner of the company says he never intended to steal but this isn’t the only couple this has happened to.
“I went out and thought it was a legitimate business. I’m disappointed in myself that we didn’t do the research. I will never sign a contract that day. I will never do it again,” says Greg Deaver.
After a month, Greg hadn’t heard back from the company, so he called.
He found out from the answering machine that Fireplace City had filed for bankruptcy.
“Gasp, deep breath. I was angry,” says Deaver.
Now out $4,600, he filed a complaint with the police.
But Greg and his wife aren’t the only ones to do that.
Chief deputy prosecutor, Tim Barker won’t comment on this specific case since the defendant, Samuel Weston, hasn’t been proven guilty of theft charges.
He says criminal cases against contractors have happened before in York County.
“They’re taking in money for new jobs, they’re applying them to old jobs that they never completed or got in too far over their head and yet they just keep taking money in, making promises to new clients,” says Tim Barker.
Samuel Weston’s attorney claims this isn’t criminal.
His client says he had to close down his business because of an increase in costs and decrease in sales.
“He had every intention on performing simply the business went out and there was never any intent on taking these people’s money,” says Glenn J. Smith, the attorney representing Samuel Weston.
“I just want my money back and I want Mr. Weston to go to jail,” says Deaver.
Weston’s attorney says he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, meaning, those who have already paid for service are listed as creditors.
“He has every intention on seeing that those people be paid,” says Smith.
Prosecutor Barker says there are ways to prevent this from happening to you.
“Where do they go to get their supplies? Ask them. You know one of the things you can do is if they say hey we get our supplies from – pick any business – this is where we go. Contact that business and ask them if they’re in good standing with them,” says Barker.
Greg says now, he’s just focused on getting his money back.
“I’m very disappointed in the business. It’s theft, it’s stealing, they came into the house and they stole from me and it’s not right,” says Greg.
Samuel Weston has his preliminary hearing scheduled for July 28th.
Barker says should Weston be found guilty he will be responsible for making sure people get their money back.