Missouri Attorney General files civil suits, criminal charges against four fraudulent contractors

Gavel and Law book

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has announced that his office has filed civil lawsuits against two contractors and criminal charges against another two contractors for allegedly defrauding multiple consumers. The four actions were filed Monday across the state. 

“Making repairs and renovations on your home can be a stressful, busy time, and selecting a reputable contractor is one of the most important steps in that process,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Unfortunately, fraudulent contractors and home repair scammers can take advantage of this stress and use high-pressure tactics to get you to pay them, all while completing little to no work. Be careful and deliberate when selecting a contractor. If you do fall victim to these fraudulent contractors, we’re here to help and will take action wherever possible.”

The Attorney General’s Office has made tackling crooked contractors a priority. Last week,  Attorney General Schmitt announced that a Springfield contractor prosecuted by his office was sentenced to eight years in prison on one count of financial exploitation of the elderly and four years in prison on two counts of deceptive business practices after having been found guilty by a Polk County jury in November.

Consumers who believe they may have been scammed by a contractor should file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office by calling the Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or submitting a complaint online at ago.mo.gov.

A brief summary of the cases that the Attorney General is taking action on are: 

R&M Landscaping – St. Louis County

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office yesterday filed a civil suit under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act against R&M Landscaping, alleging that the defendants accepted deposits from consumers in exchange for promised landscaping, construction, and handyman work, but failed to provide any work at all or provided incomplete or substandard work. The petition also alleges that defendants promised to refund consumers’ deposits but failed to do so. 

The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis County and seeks restitution on behalf of consumers who paid deposits to the defendants for construction work but received no work, or who received substandard or incomplete work. The suit also seeks injunctive relief preventing the defendants from taking advance deposits from consumers for construction work in Missouri.  

Stella Roofing LLC – The City of St. Louis

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office yesterday filed a civil suit under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act against Stella Roofing, alleging that the defendants accepted deposits from consumers in exchange for promised roofing and other construction work, but then either failed to provide any work at all or provided incomplete or substandard work. The petition also alleges that defendants promised to refund consumers’ deposits but failed to do so. 

The lawsuit was filed in the City of St. Louis and seeks restitution on behalf of consumers who paid deposits to the defendants for construction work but received no work, or who received substandard or incomplete work. The suit also seeks injunctive relief preventing the defendants from taking advance deposits from consumers for construction work in Missouri.   

The state of Missouri vs. Michael Ross – Kansas City

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt yesterday charged Michael Ross, 49, of Kansas City, Missouri, with consumer fraud. Ross faces eight counts in Jackson County for defrauding homeowners and financially exploiting elderly Missourians. 

The charges in Jackson County allege that Ross falsely promised homeowners that he and his company could complete home remodel and renovation services in exchange for partial upfront payments.  Once paid, Ross failed to provide work or materials as promised.  On two occasions, the victims of this fraud were elderly.

All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Criminal charges are not evidence of a crime. 

The state of Missouri vs. Brian Pummell – St. Joseph/Kansas City

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt yesterday filed criminal charges against Brian Spencer Pummell in Buchanan County for allegedly defrauding consumers through his business Houston’s Construction.

Court documents allege that Pummell took money upfront from customers in exchange for his promise to perform construction work. In the end, Pummell took more than $18,000 in payments but never began that promised work. After receiving consumer complaints about these unlawful practices, Attorney General Schmitt’s office launched an investigation and ultimately filed these criminal charges.