A remodeling contractor from Harrison is accused of taking more than $50,000 up front from a woman for new kitchen cabinets that he never installed.
A detective with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office accused Dylan Seelnacht, 30, of the 300 block of Primrose Lane with two felony theft counts along with felony counts of engaging in deceptive business practices and home improvement fraud.
Seelnacht was released from custody on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He was ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Carolyn Bengel on Wednesday, court records show.
Investigators said Seelnacht is doing business as Seelnacht Iconic Interiors.
The Better Business Bureau lists the company’s office in the 100 block of Cooper Road in the Cabot section of Winfield.
Seelnacht’s business is not registered with the BBB, and there are no complaints listed against the company on the nonprofit consumer rating agency’s website.
Seelnacht’s company is registered with the state Attorney General’s Office, which is required for all home improvement contractors doing $5,000 or more in business during a year. His company’s registration is valid through Aug. 22, according to the listing.
The district attorney’s office began investigating Seelnacht in mid-December after a woman told a detective that she hired him to renovate her home, which was heavily damaged by fire in July 2021, according to a criminal complaint.
The woman told investigators that Seelnacht quoted her a price of $51,546 for new kitchen cabinets in August and told her the order needed to be placed before Labor Day to avoid an 8% price increase.
The woman met with Seelnacht on Sept. 1
and gave him a check for $50,000 that was written from her mother’s bank account, the complaint said.
The remainder was paid with a check from the woman’s account. Both were deposited in Seelnacht’s account, according to investigators, who got a warrant to search the bank’s records.
The woman told police she became suspicious after Seelnacht told her that he ordered and paid for the cabinets but was not able to provide her with an invoice for the items he bought, the complaint said.
In November, the woman checked the website for the company supplying the cabinets and learned Seelnacht’s quote was for twice the listed cost, according to investigators.
She told the detective she asked Seelnacht to give her an invoice for the order he placed, but when he refused to do so, she asked him to cancel the order and refund her money.
Seelnacht told her that was not possible because the order had been placed two months earlier and some of the cabinets were special order, the complaint said.
The woman told police Seelnacht stopped communicating with her after she contacted the cabinet supplier and learned there was no order placed under her name or address.
Before filing a report with police, the woman called the supplier again to confirm the information she received. She was told Seelnacht placed an order for cabinets Nov. 8, and they were to be delivered to his home.
The company told the woman it would not be a problem to cancel the order, which was for $27,297 worth of cabinets, because none of them had to be custom-made.
They also told the woman that none of the money owed on the order had been paid by Seelnacht.
When investigators questioned Seelnacht, he told them he should not have “strung” the woman along, the complaint said.
He told police he didn’t place the order in September because there was no storage unit available to keep them until they were ready for installation.
The woman told police that Seelnacht never mentioned needing a storage unit and that she had, in fact, arranged to have storage space available in May 2022.
Seelnacht told police he was willing to refund some of the money the woman paid him for the cabinets but not the money that would have been his profit if he completed the work, the complaint said.