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Scammers seek work contracts, unearned money

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A Collier County woman was scammed by an unlicensed contractor who she said she found on Angie’s List.

The woman needed work done on her home and paid Patrick Leach of Bonita Springs nearly $2,000 to get it done, according to arrest records. For two months, Leach failed to complete any work on the woman’s house.

Leach was arrested and charged with a felony offense of grand theft. But Stacey Payne of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said other scammers are looking for easy targets and unearned paychecks across the state.

“They want to get your money and then they move on to the next area.” she said.

One Cape Coral man, Niels Brusteerd, said contractors became hostile with him after he refused their services.

“They tried several times to have me sign the contract and when I didn’t want to sign it they got angry at me,” Brusteerd said.

To avoid becoming victim to contract scams, Payne suggests:

  • Checking with friends about the contractor
  • Getting referrals on the contractor
  • Ensuring the contractor is licensed and insured before hiring them for a job