A Shawnee, Okla., man was charged with three felony counts of home repair fraud after he allegedly received payment from three consumers for fences he did not build, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.
Christopher R. Guimbellot, 34, was charged in Oklahoma County District Court after the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Unit received complaints from three Oklahoma consumers who said they paid Guimbellot through his company, Cedar Fence Company, to install stockade or vinyl fencing on their property.
“Christopher Guimbellot took in a total of $11,082 from three consumers for fencing,” Edmondson said. “He promised all three consumers the fencing would be completed within two weeks of his receipt of payment, but he never built the fences and he refused to refund the money.”
The consumer complaints came to the attorney general’s office from two Midwest City residents and one Choctaw resident.
If convicted Guimbellot could face a 10-year prison sentence and $5,000 in fines for each count against him. He is currently in the Oklahoma County jail, after being arrested on a warrant obtained by attorney general investigators.
Edmondson today also offered the following tips for consumers on how to avoid being a victim of home repair fraud:
* Always have a detailed written contract that specifies all costs for the work to be done and a date for the work to be completed.
* Never pay a large amount of money prior to the job’s completion.
* Whenever possible, hire repairmen based on referrals from friends and family.
* Contact the attorney general’s office or the Oklahoma Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints against a particular repairman. If the repairman has a history of unhappy customers, take your business elsewhere.
Edmondson’s Consumer Protection Unit has statewide jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act. Anyone with information regarding suspected fraud or scams can contact the attorney general’s consumer protection hotline at (405) 521-2029.
Source: Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office
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