Troubleshooter: Contractor surrenders

Mike Luchansky speaks with Diane Wilson

December 7, 2009 9:00:00 PM PST
An unlicensed contractor at the center of several I-Team stories says he's done running from the law and has turned himself in to police.

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson started getting complaints about Mike Luchansky more than two years ago. Customers said he told them he was licensed, then took their money and didn't finish construction jobs.

Investigators say he left a string of victims in his Wake.

John Sullivan signed contracts with Luchansky for more than $49,000, but the work was never finished.

"I feel guilty at times I fell into his trap," Sullivan told ABC11.

Carrie Lee also fell into Luchansky's trap. She paid him more than $30,000 for an addition he never finished.

"He's a con artist really, because he can talk a very big game," she said.

ABC11 set up a home with hidden cameras and invited Luchansky over to do an estimate. Then Troubleshooter Diane Wilson confronted him.

"You're acting as a licensed contractor, and you're not licensed," she alleged.

"I'm not acting as a licensed contractor," he told Wilson. "I'm licensed up to $30,000."

But we checked. There's no such license. By accepting work worth more than $30,000 without a license, investigators say Luchansky broke the law.

Cathleen Plaut - an attorney who represents the North Carolina licensing board for general contractors - took action against Luchansky. There was a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court. But over the years, the law couldn't catch up with him. That is until now.

"He went to the Wake County Sheriff's Office and turned himself in. He got a bond and bonded out and went immediately to the Superior Court's office and said 'Here I am. What do I do?'" said Plaut.

Plaut met with Luchansky, and she says he admitted breaking the law and wanted to make things right. As part of the consent order he agreed to, he'll do time.

"He agreed to go to jail for 10 days and make payments to Mr. Sullivan and Miss Lee," Plaut explained.

That's $5,000 to Carrie Lee, and $12,000 to John Sullivan. If he doesn't make the payments, he'll spend another 50 days in jail.

"Mr. Luchansky seemed contrite and wanted to make things good and move forward so let's hope that's the case," said Plaut.

ABC11 also spoke with Luchansky. He wouldn't go on-camera, but told us he is sorry for what happened. He said he put himself in a bind financially by overextending himself, but he's ready to do what's right.

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