A Penn Forest Township resident hired a contractor to construct a two-car garage with a walk up loft, but allegedly the work was never completed even though she paid him nearly $20,000.

William Harvey Hyer, 60, who at the time had a business called Quality Builders with an address of 187 Ryan Ave., Tamaqua, has been charged with ripping off the Penn Forest woman while allegedly running a garage construction scam.

The woman, Lucretia Hysock of Mountain View Drive, said Hyer only completed about 30 percent of the work before abandoning the project.

This week, District Judge Edward M. Lewis of Jim Thorpe held a preliminary hearing for Hyer, and then ordered him to stand trial in Carbon County Court on charges of theft by deception and deceptive or fraudulent business practices, both felonies.

It appears that Hysock isn't the only victim of Hyer's alleged business scam.

He was arrested for the Penn Forest incident and lodged in Monroe County Prison for similar charges.

Trooper Brian Kruszka of the Lehighton barracks of the state police, who is the arresting officer, writes in the affidavit:

"In my investigation I have discovered that over the past six years, William Harvey Hyer has been operating a fraudulent construction business claiming to build garages at affordable prices.

"He has been operating in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

"Some of the business names included Hyer Construction, Garages Unlimited, Garages Incorporated, Building Concepts, S & J Enterprises, Quality Builders and Garages of the Poconos."

The case involving Hysock began in October 24. According to the affidavit, Hysock inquired about renting out her house from an ad she had placed in the local newspaper.

The affidavit says, "After she told Hyer she needed a copy of his driver's license and a credit check, she never heard from him again."

However, on March 23, 2005, she hired Hyer, who traded as Quality Builders of Tamaqua, to build a 30-by-30-by-25, two-car garage.

A written contract proposal was drawn up for the project.

The affidavit says Hysock accepted the written proposal and signed the agreement. He then requested the first of five payments. The payment check for $3,972 was made out to Hysock.

A building permit was then obtained under the name Quality Builders.

Hyer requested the second payment from Hysock in the amount of $5,200. This money was due upon the start of construction, the affidavit says.

The third payment requested by Hyer was for $6,150. This amount was due when the foundation of the job was in and the walls were built and set. Hysock paid cash to Hyer.

Hyer requested the fourth payment in the amount of $4,436. Again Hysock paid Hyer in cash, with $400 of the amount to be used for a Bobcat equipment rental.

The affidavit says Hyer did work on the project for only 10 days and never completed the contracted job.

It adds, "When she contacted him he would say he was sick, would be back on another day, or would not show up at all."

Trooper Kruszka writes in the affidavit, "Hyer was paid a total of $19,758 and only completed about 30 percent of the work, and left the state and never completed the job."