Staten Island contractor stiffed house owner on pool set up, allege authorities; lawyer blames pandemic
STATEN ICELAND, NY – A Midland Beach construction company owner is on a hot water swimming pool bill.
Saleem Asghar took the money for a pool installation job at a Staten Island home and then abandoned his clients for over $ 3,000, alleged a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case.
Asghar, 29, from the 900 block on Olympia Boulevard, was charged Thursday on two grave theft charges.
A criminal complaint said the incident occurred between August 20 and December 1. The exact location on Staten Island was not given.
The source said Asghar had raised funds to install a residential swimming pool, but did not complete the work.
The case is being investigated further.
Officials believe there are more victims, the source said. They encourage anyone who thinks they have been a victim to contact the authorities.
Asghar was charged with grievous third and fourth degree theft in the criminal court on Friday.
He will remain free with supervised release until his next trial on October 8th.
“This is a civil matter,” said defense attorney Michael Harding. “My client is a contractor and they are facing delays due to the pandemic and the labor shortage has been publicized across the country. Pool manufacturers cannot produce pool liners and other necessary equipment, so there are construction delays. “
“When prosecutors start tracking down any contractor with construction delay, they can start with the contractors I hired,” Harding said. “Such delays are not uncommon and the city hits them all the time.
“What’s next?” asked Harding. “Are you going to prosecute restaurant owners for running out of pickles for hamburgers?”