Unlicensed contractor sent to jail

March 8, 2010 2:51:01 PM PST
An unlicensed contractor at the center of several I-Team stories was sentenced to 60 days in jail Monday.

ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson confronted Michael Luchansky over and over about money he took from homeowners and then never did the work he promised.

Wilson started getting complaints about Luchansky more than two years ago. Customers said he told them he was licensed, then took their money and didn't finish construction jobs.

Cathleen Plaut - an attorney who represents the North Carolina licensing board for general contractors - took action against Luchansky. She says he admitted breaking the law and claimed he wanted to make things right. As part of the consent order, he agreed to spend 10 days in jail and pay restitution to two victims.

Weeks later, the money was not paid and Luchansky didn't show up for the weekends he was supposed to spend in jail.

Frustrated, officials got a warrant for his arrest.

In court Monday, Luchansky continued to try and explain why he hasn't followed through on his consent order.

"I was trying to work so I could make money," he told the judge. "I realize I'm tardy in doing what I said I was going to do. I did bring $1,000 to pay towards the arrears that need to be paid."

That was $1,000 out of the $10,000 he was supposed to have paid by February 12. He also had failed to show up four consecutive weekends in a row to jail.

"I'm not making excuses, but I really want an opportunity to pay the money and do weekends so I pay all the money back so I can remain working and support my family," said Luchansky.

Despite never giving his customers a break by breaking the law, acting as a licensed contractor, leaving work unfinished and taking tens of thousands of dollars from homeowners and businesses, Luchansky wanted a break from the judge.

"Is there any way I can get a few days to get my affairs in order?" he asked.

The judge denied that, saying luchansky's had plenty of time and now it's time to go to jail. He handed down a sentence of 60 days.

Plaut said her first priority was trying to get restitution for the victims, and she said Luchansky promised that money for weeks.

"He even swore to me on the lives of his children he was going to make this payment, and I find that appalling and I think he talks a good game but doesn't deliver," she said.

She hopes jail time serves Luchansky well.

"At least sit in jail for 60 days and perhaps before he finds another victim he thinks about the consequences," she offered.

Click here to check if a contractor is licensed

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