KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police and county prosecutors told victims of a Problem Solvers Hall of Shamer that what happened to them was a civil matter.
But now Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wants to hold landscaper John Cazzell accountable. He’d already filed a civil suit against him in January for defrauding customers, and this month he filed criminal charges against Cazzell.
Cazzell owns Four Seasons Lawn and Landscape. Lois Welliver was one of his victims, according to the complaint.
“We wanted him to take out all this timber stuff and along here and replace it with stone,” said Welliver, pointing to a rotting retaining wall in her otherwise picturesque backyard.
As a deposit, she gave Cazzell a $7,500 check made out to his company. But soon after he cashed the check at her bank, Cazzell called Welliver and said he’d made a mistake and wanted the check made out to him, not his company.
That request was so odd that Welliver no longer felt comfortable using Cazzell and demanded her money back. He agreed and signed an installment agreement to repay her.
He returned about half of the money, but she’s been fighting for months to get the rest back. She had almost given up hope, but then she saw a FOX4 Problem Solvers report on Cazzell, alerting any victims to contact the Missouri attorney general.
Welliver did and so did two others. Collectively they were out about $55,000.
Schmitt charged Cazzell this month with five felony counts for defrauding customers and for financial exploitation of the elderly – since two of the victims are over the age of 60.
Cazzell told Problem Solvers he never had any intention of defrauding any of his customers. Instead he blamed what he called a series of serious health problem that’s made it difficult to complete jobs or repay people.
Problem Solvers will stay on the case and let you know how the legal proceedings against Cazzell play out.