Company offers home repairs for free after 89-year-old loses $100K to shoddy contractor

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- Law enforcement and a Warrensburg company are coming to the aid of an 89-year-old man who lost his life savings to a family of unscrupulous contractors.

FOX4 Problem Solvers first reported months ago about the plight of Charles Hogue, an elderly widow who mistakenly gave his trust and $100,000 in savings to a family of contractors from Osceola. His children said they took advantage of him.

The Johnson County, Missouri, prosecutor is determining whether to prosecute Ken Collins and two of his sons after an investigation from the sheriff's department recommended that criminal charges be filed.

But no matter what happens legally, Richter Excavating and Plumbing of Warrensburg is determined to help Hogue recover from the extensive damage done to his home.

"I really was shocked," owner Lorenz Richter said after he saw the shoddy work done throughout the home, but particularly in the basement.

For starters, the sump pump that the other company had supposedly installed was sitting above ground, just stuck in a shallow hole, not pumping a drop of water.

The drain line, also installed by that same company, was laid on top of the basement floor. In fact, visitors had to step over it to enter the basement.

Richter, who has been in business more than 20 years, said he'd never seen work this bad.

Hogue is one of multiple elderly victims who said they were taken advantage of by that same Osceola family.

Unfortunately, many of the victims are in Kansas City where police dismissed complaints as a "civil matter" -- even though it's a felony in Missouri to defraud the elderly.

When Richter heard about Hogue's plight, he offered his company's services for free.

"It's a small community here, and he's a veteran, and he's almost 90 years old and lost his life savings," Richter said. "It's just not right."

Richter Excavating removed that non-working sump pump, patched multiple holes the other contractor had made, relaid the drainage line and installed a new sump -- one that actually works.

Richter also plans to do some grading on the outside of the home to divert water away from the basement. He's hoping other companies in Warrensburg might also want to help.

"I've got some friends that I hope will chip in and do some of the framing and things that we don't do," Richter said.

It's all amazing news to Hogue, a recent widow, who thought he was managing well on his own until he was defrauded by the Collins' family.

"It's hard to believe I paid someone all that money and didn't get nothing for it," he said.

Hogue said he thanks God that good people like Richter exist.

"Oh the good Lord, I'm blessed to have someone like that," he said.

Note: Earlier FOX4 reported that All American Roofing of Olathe also came to Hogue's rescue. Tony Pourememar, owner of All American Roofing, reroofed the home for free.

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