The runaway repairman

Seven On Your Side
June 14, 2013 3:48:12 PM PDT
Al Lakas is an air conditioner contractor who, when confronted by our camera, just can't stand the heat.

"I'm taking care of it. I'm paying it off," he said.

"He just tells you lies after lies," home owner Fritz Moise said.

Last year Fritz Moise was left sweltering, after giving 3-thousand dollars cash to Al for a remote control A/C system. Fritz says Lakas took his money and ran.

"He was a scam. He knew what he was going to do," Moise said.

He took Al to court and won a judgment when the contractor did not show.

"It's not about the money he took. It's the principle. This guy's a liar," Moise said.

7 On Your Side first went looking for Al 6 years ago when he left another homeowner with no heat until we got involved.

Last year Al's Heating was in hot water again. Lakas was arrested, charged with stealing and ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution to 5 Queens homeowners the District Attorney said he bilked. He did.

But just this week, Al was staring down a Nassau County judge accused of ripping off 3 more customers.

"He owes $13,250 in fines and he would have to pay all of that and take care of his customers before we release his vehicle," Nassau County Commission of Consumer Affairs Madalyn Farley said.

Caught working with no license to boot , Commissioner Farley took his truck and tools. It sits in the impound lot, right next to another stocked company van seized two years ago for the same violations.

As for Fritz's refund?

"I'm paying everybody off. I'm dealing with him first," Al said.

Mark that as another promise broken. Al told us he was waiting for funds to clear to cut Fritz a check, but so far nothing. One big takeaway - before handing over your hard earned cash to a contractor, check him out to see if he's licensed. Al isn't.