Last updated: August 02. 2014 11:25PM - 9263 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com

Swoyersville police escort John Krochmaluk into court to be arraigned on a fraud charge Friday morning.
Swoyersville police escort John Krochmaluk into court to be arraigned on a fraud charge Friday morning.
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SWOYERSVILLE — A contractor charged with cheating a customer by failing to finish a back yard construction project was arrested at another job site Friday morning.

Police charged John Krochmaluk, 49, owner of Wyoming Valley Masonry and Wyoming Valley Landscaping on Church Street in Swoyersville, with accepting a $4,300 deposit from a Wilkes-Barre property owner and not completing the project in August 2013.

Krochmaluk, of Rutter Avenue, Kingston, was arrested while working at a job site in the area of Pheasant Drive and Greenwave Boulevard in Larksville. He was arraigned by District Judge David Barilla in Swoyersville on a single felony count of home improvement fraud and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $25,000 bail.

Krochmaluk called the bail “stiff.”

Police allege Krochmaluk entered into a contract with Tara Sokola to transform her back yard on Willow Street in Wilkes-Barre in August 2013.

The contract called for Krochmaluk to remove five feet of fill and replace it with topsoil and grass seed in the rear yard for $2,475, install a fence for $2,450 and install a concrete patio at a cost of $3,900. Sokola issued Krochmaluk a $4,300 deposit, half of the total cost, according to the criminal complaint.

Sokola told police Krochmaluk showed up for about 16 hours of work excavating her rear yard a few days after signing the contract. She said Krochmaluk never returned to complete the work, the complaint says.

Sokola contacted Krochmaluk numerous times during the latter half of 2013 and early 2014 with Krochmaluk telling her he would finish the job but never showed up, police allege.

Police said Sokola had to hire another contractor to finish transforming her yard.

Krochmaluk never made any attempts to honor the contract or return Sokola’s deposit, police said in the complaint.

It’s not the first time Krochmaluk has been charged.

Police charged him in June with defrauding creditors involving equipment and machines he purchased and concealed after a state constable issued him civil papers. He is also facing a bad check charge when he allegedly issued a $6,787 check to Luzerne Lumber for materials on Oct. 14, 2013, according to court records.

A civil action was initiated by Spannuolo Realty against Krochmaluk on June 6 seeking $4,191, court records say.

Police Chief Dave Latoski warned homeowners to thoroughly research contractors before entering a contract.

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