Contractor charged with grand larceny in Livingston County

Updated: 05/13/2014 6:06 PM
Created: 05/13/2014 10:56 AM WHEC.com
By: Rebecca Fath

He is under arrest accused of felony grand larceny. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says it has received numerous complaints about Michael Sulkowski. He's accused of stealing nearly $6,000 from seven different people. 

One woman says she hired Sulkowski to do some work, but he never showed up. She said he did a good job in the past and was blindsided when she says he took her money and ran.

Judy Bliven said, “He just went around and did things for me that I just couldn't do.”

Bliven said Sulkowski would power wash her house and paint her porch, but she sensed something was up when she paid him to fix her front walkway and she says he never followed through.

Bliven said, “I never got any answer and I kept saying to him, ‘Michael, don't mess with me because I’m going to do something.”

Bliven, along with seven others victims, went to the police. Investigators say Sulkowski stole almost $6,000 from victims since last summer.

Deputy Sheriff Phyllis Applin, Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, said, “We've had cases like this before and it is usually because they're good with people. They know how to talk to people. They are very smooth.”

At one point, Sulkowski did have a good rating on the Better Business Bureau's website, but that changed quickly.

Deputy Sheriff Applin said, “People were reporting to the BBB about his activity, but it wasn't getting to law enforcement.”

Now that it has, Bliven says it is not about the money she lost.

Bliven said, “I thought I could trust him and I did trust him, then he does something like this. It's the trust that hurts the most I think.”

News10NBC has learned there could be two more victims coming forward. The suspect, Michael Sulkowski, is free on bail. He's being scheduled to appear in front of the grand jury. 

For tips on how you can protect yourself when hiring contractors, click here.

If you think you might be the victim of fraud in this case, please call investigators at 585-243-7170.

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