Couple facing charges in alleged contractor scam

BERN TWP., Pa. - Two individuals are facing charges after police said they failed to perform repairs to a home they were contracted to renovate. 

The Nieveses hired Brandon Wunder, 32, of Brandon Wunder Remodeling & Repair LLC to complete house repairs to their home in Berks County. 

The contract was signed August 7 and the work was to begin August 16. In the contract, financial costs were not to exceed around $12,410 for labor nor around $7,050 for materials. Courtney Nieves indicated to police the work was supposed to take four weeks to complete.

But after Wunder walked out on the job, the Nieveses had an immense amount of work left undone in upgrading the house to ADA-compliant standards that would assist in Courtney Nieves' living. 

The Nieveses provided copies of checks, insurance payouts, invoices, contracts, and photos of work left undone to officials. 

The couple were also able to provide copies of checks that their insurance agent issued to Wunder for an estimate, which totaled just above $49,000. The amount was split into two checks and both were signed with Wunder's signature.

Police obtained copies of checks Courtney Nieves wrote out for work and materials that weren't bought, ordered or installed. 

Nieves told officials Wunder and his wife, Sophie Canzano, would call her "mom" and were very friendly. She even bought them safety shoes to do the work in a safe manner.

When she asked when things would be done, however, Wunder said a family emergency had come up and he was unable to do work. She also learned Canzano was from France and that she "hated being in America" and was "facing deportation from the INS."

The work done to the house consisted mostly of demolition and no true installation, according to officials. Wunder cut holes in the floor, removed walls and the plumbing.

Nieves reports that she fell through a space Wunder left open in the floor and got cuts and bruises, and that she was shocked and burned by a light switch that Wunder left bare wires sticking out of from the wall.

On Oct. 5, the Nieveses indicated Wunder walked off the job and he said he wasn't going to fulfill the contract. Since then, he failed to refund any money provided up to that point, which was a total of over $64,000.

Wunder was charged with a false statement to induce agreement for home improvement services, receives advance payment for services and fails to perform, theft by deception or false impression, insurance fraud, and recklessly endangering another person. He was committed to the Berks County Jail on $150,000 bail.

Canzano is also in Berks County Jail unable to post $100,000 bail. She faces similar charges to Wunder. 

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