AG bans 2 contractors from working in state after Florence scams | #datingscams | #lovescams

WILMINGTON — Two contractors that defrauded customers into home repairs after Hurricane Florence in 2018 have been banned from working in the state.

Attorney General Josh Stein won judgments in two separate cases against Dennis Daugherty and Jorge Garcia.

READ MORE: AG sues company for $250K, alleges it defrauded consumers post Hurricane Florence

“Scammers strike when people are most vulnerable — just like these two contractors did,” Stein said in a press release. “When they do, I’ll hold them accountable.”

Daugherty owns Illinois company Green Lantern Services LLC, as well as Green Lantern Roofing and Restoration LLC out of North Carolina. Four years ago, he arrived in town, made cold calls and false claims of being a licensed contractor of a full-service construction company. He reportedly told customers he had three dozen laborers, ready to correct problems with roofing, siding, windows, ceilings, floors, and outbuildings left in disrepair due to the storm. The reality was he didn’t have a staff and tried to subcontract jobs.

In effect, he left behind unfinished work, despite taking payments from customers. Jobs that were completed were incorrectly repaired and caused more damage and money to the consumers in the long run.

Daugherty also violated the N.C. statute and didn’t provide a verbal or written notice of a three-day right to cancel.

Nine complaints were filed to the NCDOJ’s Consumer Protection Division about his business practices. Of the $250,000-plus in losses incurred, $5,000 was paid back, according to the lawsuit the AG filed in May.

The defendants must pay $260,829 in restitution and $45,000 in civil penalties, in addition to being permanently banned from doing contracting work in North Carolina. 

Stein also won a default judgment against Triangle-area contractor Jorge Alberto Garcia and his wife Helen Smith Flores. The team operated JH Home Improvements Inc. and targeted elderly homeowners, often suffering from physical or mental frailties.

The judgement said Garcia deceived customers to sign misleading contracts, agreeing to unnecessary home repairs and improvements. Often, he would overcharge for materials and costs without seeing through the repairs. He also borrowed money as loans from consumers and never paid back the debts.

The AG noted an example of Garcia swindling a 76-year-old woman with dementia in Chapel Hill, dating back sometime between September and December 2018.

“Garcia convinced [her] to hire him to repair her roof, replace her gutters, install hardwood floors, and refurbish her deck and side porch,” the statement detailed. “She paid Garcia more than $250,000 from her retirement accounts for work and materials that were later independently valued to be between $29,000 and $45,000.”

It’s not the first time Garcia has faced charges for practicing as an unlicensed contractor; fraudulent schemes date back as far as 2015. He conducted scrupulous jobs in Chatham, Orange and Durham counties, served time and has been under investigation by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contracting and FBI.

He plead guilty last year to stealing over $3 million from clients and was ordered in January 2022 to pay over $4 million in restitution. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years supervised release.

Smith-Flores also was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering; however, according to the Chatham News + Record her charges were dismissed as part of Garcia’s plea bargain.

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