KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s a new sheriff in town if you cheat homeowners out of their hard-earned cash.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is cracking down on shady home contractors, and he’s already filed criminal charges against two men from the metro area this month.
One is well known to FOX4 Problem Solver viewers: Brian Spencer Pummell.
Problem Solvers warned people about Pummell more than a year ago after receiving multiple complaints, including one from Bryan Irick who lost more than $6,000.
“He promised to start the following Monday but never showed up,” said Irick, referring to the garage Pummell was supposed to build him at his Sedalia home after receiving that hefty deposit.
Mariah Kidwell and her husband lost $9,800 to Pummell — money they’d paid the St. Joe native to build a barn.
Although Pummell claimed he was trying to repay his dozens of victims, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office didn’t see any proof.
The AG filed four felony charges against Pummell, accusing him of defrauding his customers.
Additionally, Pleasant Hill contractor Michael Ross, 49, is facing eight felony charges. Ross, who now lives in Michigan, owned Building Pro.
A victim told FOX4 Problem Solvers that Ross had defrauded more than 20 people out of almost $500,000.
Debra Hausler said she paid Ross $3,000 to remodel her bathroom shower. That was in 2017. He never did any work.
“I was low on the totem pole for how much we lost, but a lot of people lost a lot more,” Hausler said. “Some were older. Some were disabled. Who does that to people?”
Most of the victims had thought they had thoroughly checked out both contractors, insisting on signed contracts, checking references and one of even photocopied the contractor’s driver’s license.
But it wasn’t enough to protect them.
Shelly Lang, senior investigator with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, said they’re taking an aggressive stance toward crooked contractors.
She encouraged people to call the office as soon as they suspect they might be victim.
In some cases, the AG’s consumer protection office is not only writing letters to suspicious businesses but contacting them by phone.
If the complaint is serious enough, the AG will launch an investigation which could result in civil or criminal penalties.