Man accused of ripping off Chesterfield homeowners
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Chesterfield Police want to hear from people who may have been ripped off by a man named Jimmy Lane.
Lane, 27, is accused of offering to pave their driveways, but ended up taking their money. Lane may have identified himself to homeowners as Everett Burgess, police said.
“The investigation indicates that in October 2013, Lane agreed to repair the driveways of at least two residents. He received an initial payment of several hundred dollars from each resident, but failed to complete the work for either victim,” police wrote in an email. “On Dec. 31, police obtained warrants for construction fraud and fraudulent use of a birth certificate or driver’s license.”
Police ask that anyone who had dealing with Lane, or knows where he is right now, call 804-748-1251.
Local business experts said it’s important check into a contractor who approaches your home asking if you need work done.
“Anybody who is going to do anything like this must have a contractor’s license. If they can’t provide you with a contractor’s license, number one, don’t do it. If they want to close this job out today, if they want money today, don’t do it,” said Tom Gallagher with the Better Business Bureau.
Gallagher added that is perfectly fine to ask contractor to come back to your home in a couple of days so you have time to think things through. If they do not show back up, Gallagher said you know they were not up to snuff.
The Federal Trade Commission has several other tips to consider when hiring a contractor that can prevent you from being ripped off. A less than reputable contractor usually:
- solicits door-to-door;
- offers you discounts for finding other customers;
- just happens to have materials left over from a previous job;
- only accepts cash payments;
- asks you to get the required building permits;
- does not list a business number in the local telephone directory;
- tells you your job will be a “demonstration;”
- pressures you for an immediate decision;
- offers exceptionally long guarantees;
- asks you to pay for the entire job up-front;
- suggests that you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows. If you’re not careful, you could lose your home through a home improvement loan scam.