Worst Philadelphia Contractors of 2010
Jason Matthews | Bensalem, Pa.
Bensalem Police Detective John Monaghan says Bucks County contractor Jason Matthews, 36, used Craigslist to solicit deposits from at least 19 mostly elderly victims for home improvement projects that he never started or finished.
"He found a place where he could take advantage of people," Monaghan says. A judge sentenced Matthews in January 2010 to up to 23 months, followed by five years of probation, after he pleaded guilty to felony theft and other crimes. He remains incarcerated in a Frackville [Pa.] prison.
A notice on his profile alerts members to his conviction. Matthews - who Monaghan says was unlicensed - admitted to violating the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2008. The judge also ordered him to pay more than $67,000 in restitution.
"The new law made it easier for us to prosecute him," Bucks County Assistant District Attorney Adam Tanker says.
Mucci Contractors | Morrisville, Pa.
James Mucci, owner of F-rated Mucci Contractors, pleaded guilty in September to felony charges of theft by deception and violations of the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act.
He's accused of victimizing mostly elderly consumers by accepting down payments for materials and not completing the work, according to court documents. A judge sentenced Mucci, 63, to five years probation and ordered him to pay $14,700 in restitution to six victims. He is also barred from being self-employed in the home improvement field.
Joseph Rosta of Levittown [Pa.] says he gave Mucci a $2,500 down payment to install curbing, but Mucci didn't complete the project. Rosta says he's received more than $1,000 in restitution so far. "He caused me a lot of headaches and ran me through the coals," Rosta says.
Mike Bannon, director of the Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection, says Mucci is a prime example of why the state's consumer protection law is needed. "He has been around for awhile, had bad business practices and was pushing the envelope for a long time," Bannon says, adding his office received more than 25 complaints about Mucci.
Bucks County court records indicate Mucci also has multiple civil court judgments against him.
An Angie's List notice has been added to the company's profile to alert members to his felony conviction. Mucci's phone number is disconnected, and his attorney, Michael Parlow, did not return calls.
Impressions by Design/ Concrete Impressions | Lancaster, Pa.
Vicki Sheehan of Middletown [Pa.] says she knew almost immediately that Concrete Impressions owner Todd Turner didn't know what he was doing when she hired him to install a stamped concrete deck around her pool.
He started the job late, tore up her yard and within days the concrete cracked and tiles fell off, she says. "The work is very bad, very shoddy," Sheehan says. "Every time we take the pool cover off, we're furious."
Sheehan and her husband, Joe, sued Turner and received an $8,147 judgment in December 2009. Vicki says she's received no payments yet.
In September, the Pennsylvania attorney general filed a lawsuit seeking to ban Turner's companies from operating in the state. The lawsuit alleges Turner didn't register as a home improvement contractor, accepted deposits but failed to complete construction or did shoddy work.
Turner, who could not be reached for comment, also faces several criminal charges in Lancaster County, including felony theft. A notice on his company's profile alerts members to the felony charge.
Homeowners and business owners have won five previous civil judgments against Turner in Lancaster County and one judgment in Montgomery County. He also pleaded guilty and received three years probation in 2010 for writing bad checks in both Berks and Northumberland counties, court records show.
— by Jackie Norris, Nick McLain and Meranda Watling