CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Let's say someone comes into your home. They promise to make some repairs in your house or around your yard. They ask you for cash in advance and you give it to them. Well if they don't do the work, they can be arrested.
We don't know the details of the project, but court records show 25-year old Clayton Duty of Chesterfield is charged with two counts of taking an advance and but not doing construction. Wednesday night we went looking for Clayton but we couldn't find him. We did find neighbor Gloria Fincham.
"I don't want to give you money and then you don't show up and I'm sitting around trying to find where you are," said Gloria Fincham. "It's wrong." (So your policy for yourself is don't give any money in advance?) "No. No. No. No. No. No."
Gloria, like most, didn't know leaving a customer hanging was a felony.
(Do you think a lot of people think to call the police?) "No. No. They go with the Better Business Bureau and if they're not registered there, then you're kind of out of it," explained Fincham.
Tom Gallagher with the Better Business Bureau says depending on the amount of the advance and the number of customers scammed, police could make an arrest.
"Now the criminal case doesn't mean you're going to get your money back," explained Tom Gallagher. "You're going to get the guy arrested. He'll go to trial."
According to state law if you want to get your advance back to need to send a certified letter to the contractor. Return receipt requested. The contractor then has 15 days to send you your money. If he doesn't he could be found guilty of larceny.
"Keep all your records," warned Gallagher. "Keep everything in writing. Take good notes because it could pay off in the long run."
Clayton Duty is expected in Chesterfield court on Friday.
Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org
Virginia Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov
Call your local police department to file a report against a contractor.