Arrest warrant issued for contractor suspected of fraud
October 04, 2017 06:32 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A New Mexico couple is frustrated that a man who they say scammed them out of nearly $4,000 has not been held responsible.
In July, Louis Lovato told KOB that Fred Gurule was scamming several families by operating as a fake contractor. Lovato and his wife say Gurule nearly ran them over when they went to his home, trying to get their money back.
They say Gurule convinced them he was a contractor who could help them fix up their new backyard. They say Gurule took their first payment, and then stopped showing up and changed his phone number.
They have been trying ever since to get the attention of the attorney general’s office, police, and the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department. Lovato’s case has yet to move forward, but a story very similar to his is now documented. A criminal complaint filed July 20 names a different victim who was allegedly scammed out of nearly $6,000 by Gurule.
Gurule is charged with three counts of contracting without a license, a misdemeanor. On Aug. 8, a warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed a court hearing. It was good news to Lovato, but the relief didn’t last long.
"I was just excited to see that we were starting to get some traction, but it seems like, you know, another brick wall got put up," Lovato said.
It has been nearly two months since that warrant was issued, and Lovato is frustrated that Gurule still has not been arrested.
"I mean, a police officer looks at that, 'Hey, you know this guy's not a murderer,'” said Lovato. “No, he's not a murderer but you know he's stealing from people. He's stealing from families. He's stealing from the elderly. He's impacting, you know, lives."
Lovato said he has even called in tips to police when he drives by and sees that Gurule his home.
"Situations like this shouldn't fall through the cracks," said Lovato.
APD Public Information Officer Tanner Tixier told KOB their Northwest Impact Team has compiled about $20,000 worth of fraud cases against Gurule. They believe there are more victims and would like more people to come forward so when they do make an arrest, they are able to build the strongest case possible to keep Gurule in jail.
Tixier said the warrant was issued by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, and they do not have the legal authority to knock down his door and make an arrest. Anyone who has been victimized by Gurule should call the northwest substation at (505) 768-4850.
KOB contacted the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department as well. Spokeswoman Alex Sanchez said Gurule does not have a contracting license, and they are working on taking him to court for several cases of contracting without a license. She said it is important for everyone to remember to check their website to see whether someone is licensed before hiring them.
Updated: October 04, 2017 06:32 PM
Created: October 04, 2017 04:58 PM
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