Handyman With Track Record Of Screwing Over Home Repair-Seeking Homeowners Gets Pinched Again; Faces Theft By Deception Charge For Allegedly Pocketing $600 Pre-Payment, Then Never Completing Work; Earlier Escapades Led To Guilty Plea For Theft, $236K Order To Pay 14 Fleeced Former Customers
- A Portland handyman who previously defrauded customers out of tens of thousands of dollars and was ordered by a judge in 2013 to cease doing home repair work was charged in South Portland in January with taking money for home repairs he never completed.(1)
According to South Portland police, Daniel B. Tucci Sr. of 104 Monument St. had been running newspaper ads for home repair work, and in mid-December, he contracted with a South Portland homeowner to do $600 of repair work on a garage.
South Portland Detective Scott Corbett said his investigation revealed that Tucci had hired a homeless man in Portland to pose as the owner of the home-repair business, and that Tucci posed as the employee.
Together, the two men contacted the South Portland victim, estimated the cost of the work, wrote a contract and accepted $600 in pre-payment. Then Tucci stopped answering the customer’s phone calls, and he never showed up to do the work, Corbett said.
Corbett said that Tucci had taken out the weekly newspaper ad since 2015 and used a variety of phony business names, including Helping Hands, Helping Hands Painting and Handyman Company.
Tucci also used the alias John Bruce, Corbett said. Tucci was issued a summons Jan. 20, and is due in court to answer the charge March 1.
The South Portland resident who reported the latest incident may not be the only alleged victim. The Attorney General’s Office is also investigating Tucci.(2)
“We’re looking for victims,” Corbett said.
Tucci’s legal woes began in 2008, when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge related to his home repair business. In 2012, the state Attorney General’s Office brought a civil case against Tucci under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act, for falsely advertising that he was licensed to do home repair work, threatening customers – who were dissatisfied with his workmanship, and for taking advance payment for work he never did. Many of his customers were seniors on fixed incomes.
A judge ordered him to pay $236,500 to 14 former customers and to cease work as a handyman. But Tucci never paid, and in 2016 the state moved to prevent Tucci from selling his home at 104 Monument St. after prosecutors alleged that he fraudulently transferred the property into the name of his children and a limited liability corporation, according to an April 2016 lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office.
The Monument Street triple-decker was listed for sale in 2016 for $2.5 million, according to the filing. Portland property tax records show that it was not sold, and its listed owners as of April 2016 were still the Tucci family.
(2) Those who had work done by Tucci within the past year can contact the state attorney general’s office at 800-436-2131 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.