ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Brian Spencer Pummell was featured on network news a few months ago as a flood victim from Northern Missouri.
A big-hearted storm chaser shared Pummell’s sad story of losing his belongings.
“Lost a ton of stuff, truck, tools, $30,000 worth of stuff,” Pummell tells him in the video.
The storm chaser paid for two nights in a hotel to help out Pummell and his family and asked viewers to “keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
But if you pray, pray for forgiveness because those who know Pummell said he’s a chronic liar. He didn’t lose his truck or his tools, and he should have had plenty of cash for a motel.
“In January alone he had taken $20,000 from the three of us,” said Bryan Irick of Springfield. “Where did that money go?”
Irick is one of at least 15 people who say they were scammed by Pummell.
According to a signed and dated contract, Irick paid Pummell a $6,000 deposit last January to build a garage at his home.
“He promised to start the following Monday, but he never showed up,” Irick said.
Pummell never had any intention of showing up because that very same day — more than 200 miles away in Topeka, Kansas — Mariah and David Kidwell were also waiting for Pummell to start building their barn.
“He didn’t show up that morning,” Mariah Kidwell said.
As the weeks passed, it became clear he would never show. Instead, he kept sending text messages with excuses. His car had broken down or his house had been broken into.
“He’d send a picture of the broken door knob on the door,” said David Kidwell, noting that it was an interior door.
The Kidwells had given Pummell a $9,800 deposit after thoroughly vetting him, they thought.
“He had a website. I called the Missouri Secretary of State to make sure he was a registered LLC before we even met him,” Mariah Kidwell recalled.
They made sure to have their contract signed and notarized and even made a copy of Pummell’s driver’s license.
All they got in return was a $300 pile of lumber and a lot of lies. Pummell, however, did finally return $3,000 of their deposit after they had an attorney write him a demand letter.
It was during that time that the Kidwells received a series of threatening text messages including: “I know where you live b***h. Bet I will burn your house with your kids in it.”
The FBI investigated, but Pummell denied sending the text, which came from a burner phone that couldn’t be tracked.
It wasn’t long afterward that Pummell popped up on TV as a flood victim with his “woe is me” speech.
His victims said he finds his prey via Facebook ads using the name Houston Construction. When they checked out the company, they typically found few if any complaints. (But now they are plenty.)
“What I should have done was actually look into his name,” Irick said.
FOX4 Problem Solvers did and found mug shot, after mug shot, after mug shot for everything from bad checks to evading arrest and receiving stolen property.
Now there are dozens of complaints against him on such sites as Ripoff Reports, the Better Business Bureau and Google. It appears as if nobody likes him, and he’s not even 30 years old yet.
But this time Pummell messed with the wrong people.
His victims (more than 15 with more than $60,000 in losses) are fighting back. They’ve shared their stories on public Facebook postings and have created a private group to update each other on Pummell’s whereabouts. They post his latest address and pictures of his home, which is useful if you need to serve him court papers, which Irick did.
On court day, Problem Solvers was there with Irick, hoping Pummell would have the guts to face his accuser, but he never showed. Irick was awarded a default judgment and so were the Kidwells.
But both realize they will have trouble collecting it.
Problem Solvers has repeatedly tried to reach Pummell. His phone is always busy. So we texted and still never heard back.
But we know Pummell is still out there — in fact, he’s believed to be living and working in Branson — and the list of victims keeps growing.
Among those Pummell owes money to is the storm chaser who helped him during the flood. He paid for two nights hotel for Pummell and his family, but later learned his credit card was charged for six.
So many complaints have come in about Pummell that the Missouri Attorney General’s Office is investigating, which could mean criminal charges.
But no matter what happens, Brian Spencer Pummell can no longer hide. The world is on notice.