Elderly Collier County woman falls victim to scamming contractors

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NAPLES, Fla.- Eighty-seven-year-old Mary McCourt has had no kitchen sink or kitchen cabinets for the past 10 weeks. In fact, her toaster is sitting in her living room.

“I’ve had excuses, excuses, excuses,” McCourt said. “This is terrible.”

It all started when McCourt’s laundry room flooded and she called a plumber who referred her to a company called United Water Restoration, based in Pompano Beach.

“They told me there was mold underneath the kitchen sink, that’s why they had to pull the kitchen apart,” McCourt said.

Workers told McCourt she needed to leave the house because of the mold so she paid them $1,000 to fix the problem. The 87-year-old checked herself into a nearby motel and gave the contractor’s her house key.

McCourt spent $2,200 living at the motel for ten days and when she got home, only part of the job was done.

“I don’t know where the $1,000 went,” she said.

Then McCourt went to look for her diamond engagement ring, “I looked in the drawer where it was, where I had put it, and it was gone!”

So was her late husband’s gold wedding band.

“It upsets me much more than anything, we had matching wedding bands,” McCourt said.

She contacted the Naples Police Department who is now investigating the incident, as well as the city’s code enforcement.

“This one tugged at my heart,” said Roger Jacobsen with Naples code enforcement. He adds United Water Restoration never pulled any permits for the work on McCourt’s home and could face fines.

“She’s everybody’s grandma. If you had to draw in your mind the perfect grandma, I draw Mary,” Jacobsen said. “So I take it personally.”

Jacobsen says he and city workers are expediting permits and helping McCourt find someone to finish the work.

He also warns residents who are having work done on their homes to call your local code enforcement to find out if you need permits for the work and if the company you’re hiring is licensed.

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