Cabinet man took money but gave no cabinets

catsladyJune 26, 2008

Please be very careful. A friend recommend this cabinet man and the cabinet man had a store in North Attleboro, Ma. He cashed my checks and then, his store was closed because he didn't pay his taxes. Now, I had to get a another set of cabinets, granite, and a sink.....$10,000. I am thinking of hiring an attorney. The police are involved too. They are thinking that it is a criminal case. What would you do?

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Two things - the first is get the police to run, not walk, after the guy - he's a crook and stole your money, plain and simple. The second would be to never, ever, ever again fork over all your money to anyone without at least some (half?) of the job being done - it's one thing for a contractor to say he needs some money up front to pay for materials, that's standard, but even then you don't pay the rest til the job's done (another way to keep him from leaving town before it's done).

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 11:12PM
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Call the Attorney General's Office. They can help direct you to Victim Recovery Funds to try and recoup some of your losses.

Was there a contractor licensing board that licensed him? I assume he had a business license? Follow up with any organization that certified this business.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 7:38AM
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I'd encourage you to post this question in the Building a Home and/or Remodeling forums here as well. You'll probably find (sadly) someone who's dealt with an unscrupulous contractor. I do hope you see your $ again, but if his store was closed for not paying taxes, that was a process that took a long time to arrive at, so this guy has probably been in trouble for some time. One would hope he would still have your money on hand and could return it (with a legal push), but if he wasn't paying taxes on his storefront, it sounds like there were deep debt/financial issues and/or extreme mismanagement of funds on his part. Just an aside, I interpreted differently than lucy. Agree never pay the entire job at once, and any good contractor will split the payment up throughout the course of the job and upon completion. But there's no indication the entire contract amount was paid up front. The $10k sounds like it was for materials only. Easy to arrive at or exceed that figure on a nice quality>high end kitchen. Not really relevant at the end of the day tho, $10k is a huge chunk of change. Hope it all works out!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 8:46AM
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Note: I work in the banking industry, so I see too much crap where people get ripped off...

Reason #1 as to why I use a credit card for things yet to be delivered if at all possible:(...I've personally seen too many people get nailed...How could you possibly have known about something like this? There's no guarding against it.

How long ago were the checks cashed? If you can find a problem with the endorsement (missing, signed by his secretary instead of him...), endorsements are contestable for 2 years, if I recall correctly. It's a long shot, but worth a look. Might be a moot point if his accounts have been closed...

If you have any items that have been cashed in the last couple of days, your bank/credit union may still be able to return the item if they haven't released funds to his bank yet.

You should talk to them in any case to see if they can do anything for you, if you're not already.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 1:27AM
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Don't trust your friend's recommendations...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 4:47PM
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We lost over $10,000 to a contractor - prepaid (this was a deposit) like you & then he went out of business. In our case, the state Atty General filed a suit against him on behalf of the dozens of people who were out their money. It turned out he wasn't a crook, just really stupi in his business practices & in over his head. The Atty General recovered a small amount from his busiess bancruptcy & we got our share, which was $900. It took over 3 years - we didn't have to go to court or anything but for 3 years we had a lot of phone calls, letters, and hassel. So be prepared for this to drag out a L-O-N-G time and to only get a small percentage back. If a business is bankrupt, you can't get money where there isn't any. In our case, it wasn't that the contractor was living in luxury while swindling people - just the opposite, he host everything (house, vehicles, business assets).

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 6:30AM
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"He cashed my checks and then, his store was closed because he didn't pay his taxes."

Could you be a bit more specific, please?
You gave him multiple checks?
As a deposit or was it the full amount?
What was the time line from when you gave him the check(s), to the time they were cashed to when he closed? Days? Months?
If this were a legitimate business that went under I don't see how this is a criminal issue.
Conversely, if the person cashed your check(s) knowing he couldn't/wouldn't do the work then I think it would a civil fraud case. Not as though he forged a signature or tampered with the check (that would be a felony criminal issue).
Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 5:49PM
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