Fitchburg – Contractor Fraud; Allegedly Used Online Sites To Scam Customers

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Scam Wire Forum Forums USA – Mid West Business Fitchburg – Contractor Fraud; Allegedly Used Online Sites To Scam Customers

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    The Provocateur

    Wisconsin - Scam WireA man and woman who allegedly used online sites to get customers for their remodeling services were arrested after scamming victims throughout the Madison area for thousands of dollars in jobs never done.

    John French, 43, and Angela Venters, 39, were arrested on May 20 at the Fitchburg hotel where they had been staying, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said.

    Law enforcement was tipped off to the scammers when a homeowner in the town of Bristol reported losing hundreds of dollars to the couple after contracting to have some tile work done.

    “The customers gave John and Angela a 50 percent deposit and were told the work would be started in the next few weeks,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Elise Schaffer. “When the time came for the work to begin, the contractors, the company website and their ad on Craigslist were nowhere to be found, and the deposit check had been cashed.”

    The Bristol case was only the beginning. When deputies started looking into it, they discovered other complaints from people in Oregon, Portage, Madison, Greenfield and in Florida, with victims losing between $800 and $3,000.

    “They used at least eight different business names, including Creative Custom Tile and Granite, Pro Source Remodeling, Creative Custom Tiles, Artisan Custom Tile and Design, Clear Cut Painting and Remodeling, Fast Onsite Computer Repair, Brush Strokes Painting and Certa Pro Painters,” Schaffer said.

    The suspects also used other names, with John French sometimes known as John Venters, John Brinkman or John Hoskins, and Angela Venters sometimes known as Angela Brinkman.

    When French and Venters were arrested, deputies took electronics, business documents and checks from potential victims from the hotel room.

    “Most of their advertising was on Craigslist or Thumbtack,” Schaffer said. “They traveled in a gray Dodge Dakota with Texas license plates.”

    Anyone who had been victimized by the couple is asked to call local police or the Dane County tip line, 608-284-6900.

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