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Contractor Arrested In New Canaan Chimney Scam

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The owner of a New York chimney repair company accused of trying to defraud a New Canaan family is facing charges from New Canaan Police.

Michael Guarino, 42, of Sound Beach, N.Y., is charged with home improvement without a certificate of registration, conspiracy to commit impersonation and conspiracy to commit receipt of money, goods or services obtained illegally.

Guarino, the owner of Jade Enterprises, turned himself in last Wednesday, New Canaan Police said. Three men allegedly hired by Guarino – James S. Lewkowicz, 38, of Jefferson City, N.Y., Jonathan Torres, 26, of Lake Grove, N.Y., and Todd R. Darrell, 27, of Sound Beach, N.Y. – were arrested May 18 in connection with an alleged chimney cleaning scam at a Sheridan Drive residence, police said. The three were charged with illegal sales without a permit, doing craftsman work without a license, second-degree reckless endangerment and criminal impersonation.

Police said Guarino hired the men knowing they were unlicensed and had no formal training in home improvement work. Police said Guarino booked appointments from customers obtained on the Internet. The three men who showed up at the New Canaan home were responding to a Craigslist ad. Police said they were driving a van owned by Guarino.

Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said the state Department of Consumer Protection assisted New Canaan police with the investigation.

Guarino posted $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear on July 10 in Norwalk Superior Court.

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