PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Chester County man is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in down payments meant for home renovations and then never completing the work.
Police say he bamboozled more than a dozen victims and now one of them is speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News.
Michael Sheehan, 40, of West Chester is the man police accuse of being a crooked contractor. That’s also contrary to how he initially portrayed himself to clients.
“He was very likable,” said Suzanne Smith, whose family paid Sheehan a $15,000 deposit to upgrade her kitchen in Newtown Square. But after delays and his Paoli showroom suddenly closing in March, she knew he was never coming back to do the work.
“We haven’t heard from him since. We tried to call email text nothing. It’s extremely upsetting,” said Smith.
Police say Sheehan swindled more than $400,000 from at least 20 people, promising to renovate their homes but instead taking client’s money and then seemingly vanishing.
He’s now facing more than 80 felony charges.
Smith eventually found a trustworthy contractor to do upgrade her kitchen but is still out of her $15,000.
So here’s a few steps people can take to avoid being a victim.
1) Get references from family and friends.
2) Draw up a contract that shows a payment plan, a start date, completion date and a specific materials to be used.
3) Never pay the full amount until all work is completed.