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Wyomissing man charged with contractor fraud

A Wyomissing man faces contractor fraud charges after a Cumru Township couple complained that he failed to deliver on quartz countertops for their kitchen remodeling project for several months after they made a $2,000 down payment.

Michael J. Faust, 54, of the 200 block of Kelly Drive remained free to await a hearing after arraignment June 28 before District Judge Carissa L. Johnson in Reading Central Court.

Cumu Township police Detective Brett Kolk charged him with deceptive business practices, home improvement fraud and related counts.

According to the probable cause affidavit:

On May 14, the couple filed a complaint with the Cumru police. They said they discovered an ad by “Luxe Designs” offering quartz countertops for $65 per square foot. The ad stated that the countertop could be installed in seven days.

They responded to an email listed in the ad. Faust responded and eventually came to their home to make a sales pitch.

He told the couple they would send someone to measure the countertops to get things started.

That’s when the problems began. Faust gave numerous excuses why he couldn’t do what he had agreed to do.

Instead of having someone make the measurements with laser-guided instrument, he told the couple his “guy” was out and he would have to make the measurements the “old-fashioned way” using a foam board on which to trace the countertops.

The couple used a credit card to pay $2,000 on Jan. 22 and $1,000 a week later, for a total of $3,000, for Faust to order the materials and have it cut to size.

The invoice stated the balance was $2,000 after a $1,400 discount credited the homeowner for using their own labor to remove the sink and existing countertops.

The email involved included an electronic signature of one of the homeowners, even though he said he did not sign the invoice, and had an incorrect spelling of his name.

The homeowner believed his signature was electronically created.

The invoice did not contain an estimated start or completion date and no contractor-registration number.

The detective noticed the email head included the name MJF Management Group LLC, doing business as Luxe Designs. The address of Luxe Design was the same as Faust’s home.

A search of MJF Management LLC with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Corporations revealed that Faust registered the limited liability company in 2014.

On Feb. 12, one of the homeowners reached out to Faust via text message, asking when he was going to start installation of the countertops. Faust replied that he was looking to do the installation on Feb. 16.

When that date arrived, Faust informed the customers that his workers were ill with COVID or RSV. He said he was looking to hire a subcontractor to assist him with installation.

The customer informed Faust that, based on his confirmation of a Feb. 16 start date, he went ahead and removed his sink and countertops.

For the next few months, Faust gave one excuse after another for why he couldn’t start the job. Meanwhile, the customer was without a sink and countertops.

Among the excuses was that the manufacturer was backed up on orders and couldn’t do the fabrication. Kolk contacted the manufacturer and learned that Faust had an account with them but was required to pay in full before it would do any fabrication work due to overdue bills.

Furthermore, the order that Faust placed for the Cumru couple’s countertop was for the incorrect product.

The couple eventually told Faust they were canceling their order and requested a refund.

Source: Berkshire mont

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