Three Men Arrested for Running Chimney Cleaning Scam

A New Canaan homeowner became suspicious of the men that came to her home to clean her chimney and contacted the police department, according to Sgt. Carol Ogrinc.


arrested three men on May 18 after they were caught impersonating chimney cleaning company employees and attempting to charge a family $2,600 in unneeded repairs, according to Sgt. Carol Ogrinc.

The department received a call from a family on Sheridan Drive after the owners made an appointment to have their chimney cleaned by Chimney Corners, a company that they had used in the past, according to Ogrinc. The family told police that three men arrived at the home that day to inspect the chimney. One of the men, James S. Lewkowicz, 38, of 16 Jeanne Avenue, Jefferson City, NY, identified himself as the manager of Chimney Corners, inspected the chimney and said that it would cost $2,600 to repair it.

Ogrinc said that because she didn't recognize the man, the homeowner grew suspicious, but gave the men a check for the repairs anyway. After the men left in a white van — Ogrinc said that Chimney Corners uses blue vans with the company logo printed on the side — the homeowner contacted Chimney Corners and found out that the men did not work for the company. The homeowner then called her bank to immediately place a stop payment and contacted the police department.

While officers were questioning the homeowner, Lewkowicz called the home, according to Ogrinc, stating that he could not cash the check. The homeowner told Lewkowicz to return to the home for a new one. Lewkowicz along with Jonathan Torres, 26, of 52 Walnut Street, Lake Grove, NY and Todd R. Darrell, 27, of 5 Devon Road, Sound Beach, NY, arrived a short at the house a short time later and were met and questioned by officers.

Lewkowicz, Darrell and Torres were arrested and charged with illegal sales without a tax permit, craftsman work without a license, home improvement without a certificate, second-degree larceny, second-degree criminal trover, criminal impersonation, second-degree reckless endangerment and notices in sales agreement. They each posted bond and are scheduled to appear in court on May 30.


canaan guy May 24, 2012 at 12:40 AM
how did the perps intercept the real chimney cleaners?
TH May 24, 2012 at 01:54 AM
This story fails to tell us how the perps got the appointment information and, perhaps more importantly, fails to clear Chimney Corners which, in my opinion, is one of the few reputable chimney companies in the area. I have used them several times and they have always been top notch. Might want to add some facts Patch.
canaan guy May 24, 2012 at 01:42 PM
TH : I used 9 words to say what you did. Seems like a no brainer to solve.
NCPHIF May 31, 2012 at 08:20 PM
As a nonprofit, it is our mission to educate homeowners on how to avoid becoming victims of contractor scams. Before you begin a home repair or home improvement project, please visit preventcontractorfraud.org for FREE and valuable information on how to deal with contractors. Don't become a victim!!
joe June 05, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Th must be the owner of chimney corners its ok for ur mechanic to say u need brakes and air filter and so on but when the chimney guys says repairs let's call the cops
cmore buns June 05, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Joe your so right !!
TH June 05, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Joe, you are wrong, I don't have anything to do with them. Just a satisfied customer. I don't own a small business, but I do understand the value of a reputation. People go to mechanics that they trust, based on their reputation.
Donald Ulrich March 02, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Make sure you use a licensed and insured company that is reputable. Maximumenergysaver.com
Donald Ulrich March 02, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Baffled Resident March 03, 2013 at 01:48 AM
^^^^^This link is Spam.


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