Last updated: September 04. 2013 11:16PM - 4746 Views
EDWARD LEWIS elewis@timesleader.com

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WEST PITTSTON — A contractor formerly from Plains Township was charged by Wilkes-Barre police detectives on Wednesday with failing to begin renovations to a house after he cashed a check from the homeowner.

Detectives allege George Poplawski, 41, of Country Side Road, Honesdale, cashed a $900 check given to him by Patricia Koschack, of East Sidney Street, last Oct. 18 for renovations to her house.

The $900 down payment was more than half of the $1,600 home improvement contract, which called for renovations to sidewalks, drain tile and stone, the shoring up of floors and removal all garbage and debris, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint alleges Poplawski “Has yet to do any work as he agreed to in the contract” as of Tuesday.

Poplawski was arraigned by District Judge Joseph Carmody in West Pittston on a charge of receives advance payment for services and fails to perform. He was released without bail.

Poplawski was in Carmody’s courtroom on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on related charges.

Exeter police allege Poplawski, formerly of West Carey Street, Plains, was hired by Matt Stuka to turn a single-family house into a rental unit with two apartments on Harland Street in February 2012.

Poplawski began renovations but allegedly used below-grade materials, installed wrong-sized pipe fittings and electrical panel boxes and junction boxes, and failed to replace the front porch of Stuka’s property.

Stuka previously said he learned he was billed by Poplawski for new materials when existing and used windows, pipes and electrical wires from other jobs were used.

Stuka, who paid Poplawski nearly $73,000, hired two other contractors to replace improperly installed drywall and the electrical system.

Poplawski waived his right to a preliminary hearing sending charges of theft and deceptive business practices to Luzerne County Court. He remains free on $25,000 bail on the charges filed by Exeter police.

A preliminary hearing on the charges filed by Wilkes-Barre police is scheduled on Sept. 11 before District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre.

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