Several victims have come forward alleging a Lake Zurich contractor, who has now been arrested, scammed them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by never completing their home projects.
A 36-year-old Long Grove man contacted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in June.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said the resident reported they had been scammed out of more than $50,000.
The victim entered into an agreement in April with Shaf, who was operating under the business name of Backyard Escape, LLC.
Covelli said the resident made several payments to Shaf for the outdoor project but requested his money back after Shaf failed to start construction.
The victim never received his money back from Shaf and called the sheriff’s office to make a report, Covelli said.
Sheriff’s detectives conducted a follow-up investigation by subpoenaing bank records and obtaining other documents.
The victim still had not received any money back from Shaf as of October and the agreed-upon work, which involved installing a pool, still had not been started.
Sheriff’s detectives presented the facts to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office earlier this month, Covelli said.
The state’s attorney’s office approved the charges of theft over $10,000, money laundering over $10,000 and home repair fraud. All of the charges are felonies.
An arrest warrant was drafted and approved by a Lake County judge on January 9.
Covelli said several other victims have come forward with similar encounters with Shaf. The sheriff’s office has directed those residents to file police reports with their local police departments.
Court records show Shaf was processed on the warrant earlier this week and released from the Lake County Jail because the charges are non-detainable under the SAFE-T Act.
A lawsuit was filed in November in Lake County Circuit Court by three homeowners who are accusing Shaf of scamming them out of money for home projects.
The lawsuit lists Shaf, his wife, his brother and one other person as defendants.
The suit says Shaf owns, manages, or is an agent of several different companies, including Backyard Escape, Build N Build, Lake Zurich Building Group, Luxe Design Build Group, Shaf Builders, Zurich Builders, LZ Building Advisors, Transformations Home and Bye Construction.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit paid Shaf over $300,000 and never completed the work they agreed upon, the suit said.
Another plaintiff paid Shaf $200,000 for home renovations that were left incomplete or done poorly, the lawsuit alleged.