Contractor accused of taking cash without performing work

Posted: Updated:
PLAINVIEW -

A contractor is accused of taking cash from a Plainview couple without ever performing any work.

Ronald Ettus and his wife, Reva, say they hired a man named James Destasio after he had first helped to install a backyard deck at their home through another company, called Deckstar.

The couple hired Destasio to move sprinklers that were underneath their new deck. He asked them for almost $800, but they say he never completed the work.

Ronald Ettus said he gave Destasio $600 for what should have been a $500 job.

"I knew in the second day that something was up, but I didn't want to believe it," he says.  

Ettus called the job off and asked for a refund. He says Destasio then sent him a bad check.

"He said, 'Don't cash that check, it's not going to be good. I'll send you another check.' But he never sent me another check," Ettus says.

Ettus notified Kevin Florindo, who owns the company Deckstar, about the situation. Florindo says Destasio was an employee of a subcontractor who had been working for the company for 10 months. He says he's been unable to reach Destasio.

"We called those numbers that he had, and they're gone. We checked the addresses that he had and he's not living there anymore," Florindo says.

Florindo tells News 12 that he has background checks performed on all of the people who work for him.

But sources tell News 12 that James Destasio was charged with robbery and displaying a firearm in 2012.

The Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs has listed James Destasio as a violator of licensing law.

Destasio did not return News 12's calls for comment.

The Ettuses don't think they'll get their money back, and have already found another company to do the job. They say they just don't want it to happen to anyone else.

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