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A Wilmington Township contractor is facing criminal charges for accepting payments for work he did not perform and for not being registered under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act.

A Lawrence County District Attorney’s detective has filed charges against Matthew Steven Leslie, 42, of 907 Cottage Grove, based upon claims made by a Neshannock Township couple that they paid him to repair their swimming pool and to perform other work, some of which was damage that he caused, but he did not complete any of it.

Altogether, Leslie accepted payments worth $33,954.77 and he cashed the checks at local banks, according to a criminal complaint filed against him in court.

The court documents state that Leslie was hired to repair a couple’s pool on Elm Drive after tree branches had fallen on it during a storm and damaged it.

He was paid half the money up front, the report said.

 The complaint also reports that Leslie had been paid to obtain a building permit from the township zoning officer, but he never obtained it.

During the course of the investigation, the detective learned Leslie was a subcontractor for a construction service. The company owner reported that he received a complaint that Leslie had been paid $8,000 to build a deck that he never built, the document states.

The detective also discovered that Leslie was not registered through the state office of the attorney general. He further learned that Leslie created a registration July 1 of this year, but never completed the form.

The paperwork states that he was not a registered contractor, nor did Leslie have insurance coverage while he was working at the couple’s home, nor did he provide a required registration number on his contract, estimate or proposal.

Leslie had falsely advised the homeowners that he was bonded and insured prior to working on their property, they reported to the investigator.

He is charged with four counts of forgery and four counts of bad checks, and one count of receiving advance payment for services he failed to perform. He was arraigned by District Judge Richard A. Russo, who released him on an unsecured bond of $10,000. Unsecured means that he must show up for his proceedings in the case or he will be charged for the full amount of the bond. 


Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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