Lake Co., Indiana pool contractor Michael Nanay charged with theft, fraud; police seek more victims

Samantha Chatman Image
Friday, June 16, 2023
IN pool contractor charged with theft, fraud; police seek more victims
Police in Lake County, Indiana are asking for help locating more victims of pool contractor Michael Nanay, who has been charged with theft and fraud.

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. (WLS) -- Police in Indiana are asking for the public's help locating more victims of a Northwest Indiana pool contractor who has been charged with theft and fraud.

The contractor, Michael Nanay, has been arrested and charged, but the Lake County Sheriff's Department believes more victims could be out there.

Customers said Nanay assured them he could build their dream pool, but tens of thousands of dollars later they said all they are left with are gaping holes in their backyards and their money down the drain.

"It's horrendous! And if it rains, it's all mud," said Jill Hoffman.

Hoffman and her fiancé William Hand said they wanted to build a new pool for their children. Three years later, their kids are what left with what looks like a crater in their back yard.

"I want to cry for them. Three summers they've missed out on swimming," Hoffman said. "They're crawling up mud to get to their swing set."

The Dyer couple said they signed a contract with Nanay, of Mad Pools, in 2019 with work to start in 2020.

"They came in around the end of March, beginning of April, super excited," Hoffman recalled.

But that excitement quickly turned into worry as they said Nanay and his team stopped showing up. While they eventually returned, it didn't mean more work got done.

"The workers definitely didn't know what they were doing. We were told they were knew and they didn't know. You could tell it was a disaster," Hoffman sad.

The couple said the contractor came back the next month, apologized for the mistakes and started from scratch. But after ripping everything out, they said he left and never came back. Instead, all they got were stories.

"His mother fell and broke her hip," Hand said Nanay told them. "Another was his mom was in the hospital, and he almost cut off his finger."

The couple had paid nearly $40,000 up front.

"It's just heartbreaking. That money's just gone," Hoffman said.

Jennifer Krukowski of Cedar Lake, Ind., said Nanay took her money as well; two installments totaling $57,000, and left her backyard wrecked.

"There were a lot of excuses, unreturned phone calls and text messages," she said.

Krukowski said when she confronted him, Nanay told her he had a stroke and stopped returning her calls.

"We've been deceived," said Krukowski. "We are trusting people and so this hurts. This hurts."

The Lake County Sheriff's Department arrested Nanay and charged him with five felonies, including theft and home improvement fraud.

The department said it's investigating 15 cases linked to the contractor and believe more victims could be out there.

"Some of these people are out $50,000, $60,000, $80,000, $100,000," said Michael Stewart of the Lake County Sheriff's Department. "What it has turned into is kind of like a pool Ponzi scheme almost. They way that it has been described is robbing Peter to pay Paul."

Nanay pleaded not guilty. Over the phone, he told the ABC7 I-Team he was trying to finish the pools and work with people as best he can. He said he had a stroke last year, which left him partially blind, and said his employees took off while he was in the hospital. He said despite his back being against the wall, "I haven't disappeared. I'm still here."

He also said bad press will only make him lose more work, which will prevent him from paying his customers back. But the homeowners said they will continue to speak out.

"This guy had a thousand chances. He could have made this right. He could have been honest and he didn't. So don't feel bad, come forward and make it stop," Hoffman said.

Nanay has been released on bond and his next court date is July 25.