Home improvement contractor gets 90 days for “ripping off” customers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – George Anna’s customers say he could talk a good game, but his home improvement work was shoddy, and now he is paying the price.

Even Anna’s own defense lawyer admitted in State Supreme Court, the Cheektowaga contractor is not very good at his craft, but Anna has thumbed his nose at authorities and his own customers for years, and now he is paying the price.

Supreme Court Justice John O’Donnell sentenced Anna to 90 days in jail for criminal contempt of court, after Anna pled guilty to violating a 2012 court order back in 2012.

Vince Folga of Buffalo was one of Anna’s victims, and considered him a friend, “I was gullible because I knew him for such a long time.”

Folga hired George Anna to fix the roof of his daughter’s house in Black Rock, but even a 30-year friendship was no cure for Anna’s shoddy workmanship.

“He went up there, he says ‘yes I can do it all, it will cost you $1200.’ I gave him $1200, he went up there one day, ripped the roof apart, left it in shambles, never came back.”

Folga also referred Mark Weatherbee of Kenmore to Anna, and he got stung, too. Weatherbee was not as critical of Anna’s work as the contractor’s work ethic, “We all lost money from this guy, who could have just as easily did the job, if he would just stick to his word.”

Weatherbee and Folga were among several of George Anna’s customers who filed complaints against the Cheektowaga contractor, with Call 4 Action and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

Assistant Attorney General Jim Morrissey prosecuted Anna who signed an order, in 2012, agreeing to stop taking on new home improvement projects until he made things right with customers he had already ripped off.

But Morrissey said, even that didn’t stop Anna, “He went out and started ripping off consumers again. The very behavior that we initially went after him for, he was doing it again–taking money from people, and not doing the work he had promised to do so.”

State Supreme Court Justice John O’Donnell found Anna in criminal contempt of court, and sentenced him to 90 days in jail, despite a plea from Anna’s lawyer to let him serve the time on weekends.

Morrissey says the sentence should serve as a warning, “The message to home improvement contractors is loud and clear: if you rip off consumers, if you violate court orders, there is going to be a consequence.”

George Anna was also ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution, and Morrissey said urged consumers to follow “rule number one” when hiring a contractor–make sure you get all the important details in writing. Some of Anna’s customers trusted him, and did not sign contracts.

Click on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s announcement of George Anna’s jail sentence, including tips for hiring a home improvement contractor.

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