3OYS confronts contractor who took thousands of dollars and fled

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Dan Zmich claims to be a skilled contractor, but some say the only thing he is good at is vanishing with their money.

So 3 On Your Side caught up with Zmich to see what he had to say for himself.
 
"Hey Dan! My name is Gary Harper with Channel 3. A lot of people are looking for you, including me.” 
 
"Yes, sir," Zmich replied.
 
We wanted to ask him about one of his past customers, Marty Kluner, a Canadian who just recently purchased a Scottsdale condo and claims he was ripped off Zmich.
 
"You never know until after the fact, but he certainly seemed like someone we could trust," Kluner told 3 On Your Side.
 
Kluner says he trusted Zmich to paint and re-tile his condo while he went back to Canada.
 
Kluner trusted Zmich so much, he handed the contractor $9,200 in cash, and although the job was started, it was never finished.
 
Kluner said, “All of the sudden, he went out of sight."
 
Judy Bodnar knows the feeling. She also gave Zmich money, around $3,000 for a small remodeling job.
 
But she says after taking the money, Zmich pulled a Houdini and disappeared before ever starting the job.
 
So, who is Dan Zmich?  
 
Well, we know he's unlicensed, and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors confirms he is under investigation.
 
We also know Zmich sure does like showing himself having a good time.
 
From sky diving to tanning, he sure is cool. But vanishing with people's money, that's not cool.
 
“What’s going on with taking money and not showing up to do work?" Harper asked him.
 
“I can't explain it right now. I'm going through a lot of other things right now," Zmich said.
 
He went into a long, rambling story about how he's sick and unable to work.
 
As he told this to 3 On Your Side, there were loads of material in the back of his truck.
 
“You got the Bodnars, who you took $3,000 from?” Harper asked.
 
“Yep,” Zmich acknowledged.

He went on to admit that he also took $9,200 from the Kluners and abandoned the job.

But what about their money? 3 On Your Side wanted to know.

“Yeah, I'm working on it. Everyone is going to get paid back," Zmich said.
 
Well, that sounded promising, until he told 3 On Your Side that all the money is gone.
 
“Do you have any money right now?” Harper asked.
 
“Actually, no. It's a long story. I can't explain it right now," Zmich said.
 
Bodnar says she's not buying any of Zmich's lame excuses. As for Kluner, he's says he’s not either.
 
"As the minimum, if he's sick, he would at least owe me the courtesy of a five-minute call to say what's going on," Kluner said. "I could handle some delays if the guy is truly sick." 
 
At the end of the confrontation, Zmich told us he'd call customers back and try to explain why he took their money.
 
But you know what? Zmich never did call Bodnar or Kluner for that matter. 3 On Your Side has confirmed that a criminal investigation is underway into Zmich, and we plan to air a follow up when this situation advances.