Berlin woman ripped off by man who fixed her pool - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Berlin woman ripped off by man who fixed her pool

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Sandra Cohen said she was ripped off by a man hired to fix her pool (WFSB) Sandra Cohen said she was ripped off by a man hired to fix her pool (WFSB)

A Berlin woman said she got ripped off by the man she hired to fix her pool. 

Sandra Cohen's pool nightmare actually started with barely a ripple. She needed help opening her pool and spotted an ad in the local weekly.

“He came the very same day, looked at my pool, gave me a price and we did business,” Cohen said. “Everything went fine, the first time.”

When Cohen said she first met Ted Standish, she asked about insurance, his company and his experience. According to Cohen, Standish told her he worked at Rizzo Pools in Newington for 25 years before retiring. 

Rizzo had put in her pool 10 years earlier. Cohen said Standish was wearing their shirt that day and added he was looking for small side jobs. So she called him again this year.

“He came back the second time. I had a leak in the pool. He gave me a price,” Cohen said. “It kept rising every few months. It went over $5,000, and the job was never done.”

Cohen said he had promised to fix a leak and repair the pool.  She added Standish came and did started painting.

“He left the gallon of paint and said, ‘you can have your husband finish it,’” Cohen said.

Then, Cohen said Standish told her she needed a new pump to fix the problem for an additional $1,450. She handed over the cash, but said no more work was done.

Cohen said she eventually got the pump money back, but is still owed the original $5,000.

Cohen told Eyewitness News that all he didn’t even finish painting.

“Nope, he didn't finish because, a big snake attacked him in my back yard, then his wife died, and that's when I started realizing that something wasn't right,” Cohen said.

The snake-bite supposedly happened when Standish was removing her old pump. He left her a voicemail claiming to be in the hospital.

“I'll give you a call when I get out of here. They're saying another hour, hour and a half," Standish said in a voicemail on Cohen's phone. "Right now, I have an IV drip in my arm, just in case of poison or something, so I'll give you a call back.”

Cohen said Standish even sent her a picture of a badly swollen hand as proof of the snake bite. Except, there was one problem with the picture.

“I knew it wasn't him, because he has a full sleeve of tattoos,” Cohen said. “And the hand he sent didn't have tattoos.”

Cohen said she "Googled" swollen hand snake bite and the second result was a picture of one sent to her by Standish.

When weeks went by without any work being done, while Standish claimed to be recovering, Cohen kept calling and calling.  Standish finally called back and said now couldn't work because his wife was very sick with cancer.

A few weeks later, she said he texted to say his wife had died.  But she said he ultimately admitted to making up the whole sick story.

“For a couple days, he didn't pick up my calls Cohen said. ”And then he did and I said ‘listen, I know your wife is not dead.’ And he said, ‘I'm sorry. I have a lot of family problems.’ And I said ‘who doesn't?’”

Cohen said she only got the $1,450 for the pump back after tracking down Standish's father at his Meriden home.

She said he offered her that money back, but only if she signed a letter. But, she said he wrote it and she couldn't read the cursive, so she wrote underneath that she was only reimbursed for the pump. The cursive she couldn't read said she got all her money back.

When the I-Team went looking for him, Standish's father first claimed to not know what the station was talking about. But when the I-Team mentioned Cohen he pulled out that note and insisted she got all her money back.

The I-Team stated Cohen had called because she was upset that he took her money.

“Oh yeah, she came over and wanted to be reimbursed,” Standish's father said. “She wrote a letter saying she was reimbursed.”

Standish’s father said his son wasn't home.

“He'll be back on Friday,” Standish's father said. “His mother-in-law just passed away last night.”

So the I-Team kept digging. First we went to D&L Towing in Berlin, Standish once posted on Facebook that he worked there.

Officials at D&L Towing said they knew Standish and said he once threatened them. D&L Towing officials said he worked there for a week and they fired him. They said he's a pathological liar. 

Then, the I-Team headed to Rizzo Pool where they confirmed through payroll records that Standish once worked there. But said he didn't retire and shouldn't be saying he did.

Officials with Rizzo Pool said he worked there in the early 2000s and got fired. They added he stole one of their credit cards and ran up thousands. They said he actually got arrested for it. 

The I-Team found that Standish was not only arrested, but he served time behind bars for stealing $6,625 from Rizzo Pools. 

The I-Team also dug into his full criminal record, which is four pages long. It includes 15 arrests over the past 22 years for charges ranging from drug possession to larceny and criminal impersonation to assault.

At this point, Standish's stories had sprung more leaks than the pool Cohen hired him to fix. The only person who could clear it up was Standish himself.

After spending a few days trying to track him down, the I-Team got a call.

"It's Ted Standish. I have no comment,” the voicemail left for the I-Team.

“It's not so much the money. I want people out there to be aware of this guy,” Cohen said. ”He's impersonating people that he is not.”

Cohen said she promises to file suit to recover the rest of her money. As for the pool, she said she hired Rizzo Pools, who is going to repair it.

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