Cleveland roofing contractor charged with felony theft, three jobs never started

Prosecution claims contractor never did any work

CLEVELAND - Brian Plona put $4,000 down for a new roof for his Lakewood home back in November 2011, but never expected the job would leave him in Cuyahoga County Court two and a half years later.

Plona and two other consumers filed charges against Cleveland's J. Fasino Renovations after the company allegedly took thousands of dollars for roofing jobs that were never started.

Plona told Cuyahoga County Judge Nancy Margaret Russo company owner Joseph Fasino promised to start his new roof numerous times during an 11-month period, but never delivered any supplies or started any work on the project.

"Once the summer hit, there were countless days where a rood could have been put up on a house in Lakewood," said Plona.

Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor John Hirschauer told NewsChannel5 Fasino took thousands from three different consumers and never showed any intent to do the work.

"That is a deceptive act, and with that deception, he never had the intent to actually do the job," explained Hirschauer.

"He strung along several of these victims for months and months, basically telling them on a weekly basis that, 'We're going to start the job next week.' He never showed up, and that was to the tune of $8,400."

"He did convert the money to his own use, he never showed up, he never did any work. That is in fact a theft offense and they're felonies."

Fasino is facing two felony counts and a first-degree misdemeanor.

Defense attorney Ashley Jones told NewsChannel5 Fasino is really a victim of some bad business decisions, bad weather and broken construction equipment.

Jones believes she'll be able to prove Fasino intended to do the work. She believe the case is not a criminal matter, and should be handled via a civil lawsuit.

"We will prove that there was no theft, this is a civil case, it was a business loss," said Jones "There will be evidence of those things, that he actually made an attempt to get the job done, correct."

The case is headed to closing arguments on Thursday, June 12, with Judge Russo set to make a ruling on the case.

If convicted on all counts, Fasino could face probation, community service and even some jail time.

Consumers should feel free to file a police report and seek criminal charges, if they've given big dollars to a contractor and the contractor hasn't delivered any supplies, or started the job. 

NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will continue to follow up on this developing story.

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