Homeowner: I was duped out of $90k by a phony contractor

Updated: 08/18/2014 7:13 PM | Created: 08/18/2014 6:45 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A homeowner, hoping to flip a house, is accusing a man of posing as a licensed general contractor and making off with $90,000.

Marji Prefontane bought the house on Cedarbrook NE in an auction.  Her plan was to rehabilitate the home and sell for it a profit.  It was her way of investing her money and helping secure her retirement. 

"We hired a guy who we thought was a licensed general contractor who actually presented himself as a licensed general contractor," Prefontane said. 

Prefontane admits she's new at house flipping, but placed trust in whom she thought was a licensed professional, David Childers.

"I signed the contract, and then I said, 'Who do we make out the checks to?'  I thought it would be to him because he said he was the licensed general contractor," Prefontane said.

Instead, Childers asked for several checks made out to several different companies.  That didn't sit well with Prefontane, but she wrote the checks anyway, totaling $90,000.  The next day, she regretted her decision, feeling she had been upsold.  When she looked into Childers' licensing, she discovered he wasn't licensed to do general contracting work in New Mexico.

"I was angry," Prefontane said.  "This is just wrong.  I just want to cancel the contract and we want our money so that we can continue with the renovation of this home."

But Childers hasn't returned the money or done any work in the home.  By phone, we reached Childers, who denied any wrongdoing. 

"Actually, what you want to do is get the facts straight," Childers said in a recorded phone call.  "I never took anyone's money so I don't know where you got that data from, but it's absolutely false."

When asked about his licensure, he referred me to talk his attorney, but didn't want to reveal who his attorney is.  He said I was "leading him down a rabbit hole that he wasn't willing to go down."

"I feel duped, fooled, messed with, conned - absolutely conned - by someone who presents himself as somebody else," Prefontane said. 

Prefontane retained an attorney.  That attorney has written a letter demanding Childers return the $90,000 by Tuesday at 5 p.m.  KOB-TV will follow this situation.  

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