WEST CHESTER — The Main Line contractor who promised to do a variety of home projects for residents in two Chester County municipalities but who ended up cheating them out of more than $400,000 in payments they made by not completing the work he had been hired to do has been sentenced to serve a state prison sentence for his crimes.
Michael J. Sheehan appeared before President Judge Jacqueline Carroll Cody in the county Justice Center for sentencing on Nov. 26 As several of his victims watched in the courtroom, the judge ordered him to serve a prison term of 2½ to 10 years behind bars.
The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Myles Brand Matteson, had sought a sentence of three to 15 years.
Sheehan, 41, of West Chester was arrested by police in Easttown and Tredyffrin in October 2018 and charged with ripping off more than a dozen residents in those townships. Tredyffrin police charged him with 84 separate felony counts involving theft by deception, receiving stolen property, and deceptive business practices related to work he was paid for but never performed.
According to police in Tredyffrin, dating back to March 2018 14 customers reported that they paid Sheehan over $400,000 as down payments for home renovation work that was never completed.
Sheehan operated out of a Paoli company called Element Kitchen & Bath. The business has since stopped operating.
He was charged in Easttown with similar crimes, including false statement to induce agreement for home improvement services and receiving payment for services and fails to perform.
Sheehan pleaded guilty to four counts of felony theft in September. He had been free on bail pending sentencing.
At the hearing, one of the victims told Cody her family paid Sheehan $15,000 to upgrade her kitchen, but after Sheehan closed his Paoli showroom, she says she knew he was never coming back to do the work.
“It’s just been extremely upsetting and frustrating. We’re trusting people and we felt that we had done our due diligence. We had got estimates from other contractors. Mr. Sheehan seemed like the right choice for our renovation project and, ultimately, he stole from us,” the woman said.
Another victim was in labor when she was pressured to give Sheehan a $12,000 deposit. “He was telling us he needed the money to do the project, so we dropped it off and he cashed it knowing he was going out of business,” she said.
Sheehan, who was accompanied by several supporters at the proceeding, was represented by Philadelphia attorney Michael Francis Niznik. The sentencing was handled by Assistant District Attorney John McCaul for the prosecution.
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.