Earlier this week, lawyers for the state of Illinois accused a roofing company of swooping into storm-damaged areas, selling its services to homeowners in need and then leaving shoddy, incomplete or never-started repairs in its wake. It’s a scam that is all too common following a devastating natural disaster. Just ask the defendants, who had a warning about such bad behavior on their own website.
“Being desperate leaves you open to being preyed upon by ‘drifter contractors’ who do not meet the standards of local state regulations,” read a statement on the company’s currently suspended website. It also offered advice for sniffing out drifter contractors: “Ask for current certificates of workman’s compensation and liability insurance… Insist on seeing proof of current dated roofing insurance…. Check the BBB everywhere the company has an office… Make sure to use a licensed roofing specialist.”
Prosecutors allege that the owners of the roofing company made a deal with a licensed roofer in Illinois, whereby they would use his bona fides to convince customers of their non-drifter status. The licensed roofer would also pull permits with the understanding that he would be the contractor. But the state claims that the defendants would pay the real roofer 2% of their gross sales while they hired unskilled labor to do shoddy work, if they ever showed up at all.
The company also filed articles of incorporation in three different states “to open multiple corporate checking accounts in each of these states under various names. This enabled the defendants to easily deposit and cash checks when doing business in these states, and quickly start up and wind down their business operations by transferring monies to accounts held in other state.”
The state has asked the court to order the defendant to pay restitution to all affected customers, some of whom paid upward of $90,000. Additionally, prosecutors request penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, along with another $50,000 for each violation committed with intent to defraud.
Illinois Sues Storm-Chasing Roofers [CourtHouseNews.com]