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Mt. Pleasant man faces fraud rap

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A South Huntingdon couple wanted to remodel their bathroom, but instead they were left with an unfinished mess and a financial loss, Westmoreland County detectives said.

Detectives charged Michael G. Carlson Sr., 27, of School Street, Mt. Pleasant, with home improvement fraud in the bathroom and another home improvement fraud and a bad-check offense from two other incidents in 2011 and 2012.

Carlson, who was jailed in lieu of posting $15,000 straight bond, faces a preliminary hearing Dec. 13 in Mt. Pleasant Township District Judge Roger Eckels' office.

Carlson, who was doing business as “Mike's Home Remodeling,” already is facing trial in county court on numerous charges related to home improvement or bad-check offenses, according to court records.

Michael and Cindy Smith signed a $3,750 contract with Carlson in April 2011 to remodel the bathroom of their Mt. Etna Road home, according to a complaint.

Carlson and three unnamed people “demolished the interior walls of the bathroom,” leaving the debris behind, according to court papers.

He further asked for $1,875 more, which was paid, raising the couple's total advanced payments to $5,625, detectives said.

Carlson returned several weeks later and installed plasterboard and relocated the drain line and faucets in the bathroom, investigators said.

“According to Mrs. Smith, the installation of the plasterboard was done incorrectly,” states the complaint written by Detective William Brown.

“Mrs. Smith further informed me that Carlson never returned with the new tub and shower, vanity or sink,” Brown added. “Furthermore, Carlson never completed the plastering or floor of the bathroom.”

Carlson provided numerous excuses about why the project wasn't finished, eventually failing to return phone calls, Smith told detectives.

Attempts to reach the Smiths for comment were unsuccessful.

In another incident, detectives accused Carlson of taking an $800 advanced payment from Ronald Ellena in July 2011 for windows at his East Huntingdon home and then not buying the building materials or doing the work.

In the remaining complaint, Carlson went to Prestige Auto in Ruffsdale in May to have the frame of his race car straightened.

He got the vehicle after it was repaired, and he paid with a check from a bank account that had been closed, investigators said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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