At least one Burlington resident was among 10 victims of an alleged scam by the owner of a Chelmsford oil company who won $1 million in the lottery three years ago.
The Boston Herald reported that Michael Santaniello, the owner of Mike's Oil Heat Service, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with allegedly taking $10,000 from victims.
Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone said Santaniello, who skipped an initial court appearance about three months ago, told customers they needed new boilers and oil tanks, took money and never did the work.
According to the Burlington Police log, the department issued a summons for Santaniello on July 20 on a charge of larceny over $250 from a person over 60 years old/disabled. The summons was issued after a Brantwood Lane resident said he paid a contractor $1,700 in July of 2011 for an oil tank replacement that was never completed.
The scam is leaving victims feeling confused over what happened.
“I just want to know why,” Leann Otis, 42, of Wilmington, said according to the Boston Herald story. “I trusted him. I’ve known him for 20 years. Why screw people like that?"
Santaniello charged the Otis family $700 after saying their oil tank needed immediate repair and then did not return phone calls after not showing up to perform the job, according to an e-mail to Wilmington Patch earlier this year.
He allegedly repeated the scam in several surrounding towns, mostly targeting elderly customers.
“What’s most disturbing is that this defendant continually repeated his scheme, all in an attempt to rip off vulnerable trusting members of the public who deserve better," Leone said, according to the Herald.
A Massachusetts Lottery spokesman told The Herald that Santaniello won $1 million on a scratch ticket in 2009, and that after taxes he receives $35,000 annually for the next 20 years.
There were warrants out for Santaniello's arrest in Lowell and Concord prior to his arrest.
"It’s a relief just to know something is going to be done,” Otis told the Herald.