If there is one thing I know for sure after covering news stories for almost three decades when you contract for work to be done on anything, get something in writing. Even if you just write out an agreement on notebook paper between you and the person you are hiring to do the job, that's better than having nothing when the person doesn't return your calls.

I write all of this so that I can tell you about the arrest of a man by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office concerning allegations of contractor fraud. According to St. Landry Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, 62-year-old Miguel Mendoza was arrested on two counts of Residential Contractor Fraud after two people say the man took their money, but he never finished the work. The first victim says after a certain point, Mendoza wouldn't even return their phone calls.

Miguel Mendoza
Photo courtesy of St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office

Deputies say the victim gave Mendoza a deposit in January 2020 for sheetrock work, and then the victim contracted for an additional job in February 2020 to paint. Several other checks were written to Mendoza as well according to what the victim told police. Miguel worked on the project occasionally, but the last they saw of him was September 2020, and he never came back to finish either of the jobs according to investigators. This was the first victim's situation.

With the second victim that was taken advantage of according to deputies, Mendoza is alleged to have done similar things. The second victim alleges a deposit was made on July 15, 2020, for Mendoza to build two offices in a garage. Mendoza told the victim on July 16, 2020 that he had to wait for the concrete to be poured. The victim gave the man more money on July 22 and 24. The victim says Mendoza then refused on August 15 to finish the offices.

Mendoza has had his bond set at $5,000.

At any point, whether you have a signed agreement or not, and you feel that you have been ripped off by someone, you should call the police. It is always better if you have a written agreement, but even if you don't, still don't shy away from telling the police if someone does this to you. Every person in America is innocent until proven guilty, but if you think you have been taken advantage of, call the authorities.

Another good idea, in my opinion, is to always check out the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana's website at bbb.org. Are they going to have every person's name or every business on their list, no? However, they can give information on thousands of businesses in Acadiana. It's a great tool to have.

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