Man at center of 4OYS investigation now facing criminal indictments

Posted at: 06/20/2014 10:30 PM
Updated at: 11/09/2015 9:49 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A Sandoval County Grand Jury indicted a man on fraud charges who the KOB 4 On Your Side team exposed as a scammer last February.

John Montano, 35, who owns Superior Plumbing/Superior Heating and Cooling was indicted Thursday after a Corrales Police Detective put together a case involving two elderly women who claimed Montano defrauded them. 

KOB Eyewitness News 4 broke the story of John Montano in February 2014.  After the broadcast aired, Meredith Stromquist, 92, called Corrales Police to inform them the man who she saw on TV scamming others also scammed her too.

“That's what prompted all this,” Stromquist said.  “We watched  two times.”

Stromquist explained how she contracted Montano to do work on her water heater and even paid him $1,033 up front him for parts and labor.  But according to the elderly woman Montano never returned to do the work. 

Corrales Detective Frank Tomlinson was familiar with Montano’s shenanigans.  He was already working on another case with similar accusations.  An 85-year-old woman asked him to winterize her swamp cooler.  Police records indicate he instead convinced her that her entire water system was broken and she needed a green sand filter, water softener, and a spin down filter.  He allegedly collected $3,675 from the woman to buy parts and then never showed up again. 

“By him not coming back at all and performing any work, that leads me to believe he is intentionally defrauding these individuals,” Detective Tomlinson said. 

Tomlinson turned the two cases over the district attorney and on Thursday a grand jury indicted Montano on two counts of fraud.

In February, KOB set up a water heater in perfect working order in an Albuquerque home.  An undercover producer working for KOB-TV called Montano and asked him to inspect the water heater.  Even though a city inspector gave the water heater a passing grade, Montano told our producer that the water heater needed immediate replacing.

When confronted, Montano defended his assessment and maintained he has always performed fair work. 

White collar crimes detectives in Bernalillo County are also working cases against Montano.  There may be as many as 14 victims there.

Click here to read the indictments