Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

mmerz@atg.state.il.us
June 26, 2006

MADIGAN LAWSUIT ALLEGES ELMWOOD PARK MAN DEFRAUDED CONSUMERS OUT OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN HOME REPAIR SCAM

Chicago – Touting himself as a contractor who could tackle a wide variety of home repair and remodeling projects, an Elmwood Park man accepted more than $9,000 from four homeowners and then failed to either begin the projects or completed the work in a shoddy and unworkmanlike manner, Attorney General Lisa Madigan alleges in a lawsuit filed today in Cook County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit names as defendant Reynaldo “Leo” Morales, doing business as Power Projects and Power Projects, Inc. The lawsuit alleges that Morales, who lives in Elmwood Park, used a fake Chicago address while conducting business.

“Homeowners shouldn’t be left with an empty pocketbook and an unfinished project when they hire a contractor to make improvements to their homes,” Madigan said.

According to complaints received by Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division, Morales allegedly stated to consumers that he could complete projects ranging from the installation of a new roof, the installation of windows, the erection of a fence, the finishing of a basement and the remodeling of a bathroom. Morales was not licensed with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations as a roofing contractor, Madigan’s lawsuit alleges.

Three consumers complained that Morales accepted down payments ranging from $1,000 to $3,500 and then never began the work. Despite the consumers’ repeated requests for refunds and demand letters sent by Madigan’s office, Morales allegedly has refused to issue refunds to the consumers.

In a fourth complaint reported to Madigan’s office, a homeowner paid Morales $1,700 and purchased $835 in materials for a bathroom remodeling project. However, the defendant’s workers performed shoddy work and did not come near to completing the project, Madigan’s lawsuit alleges.

Because the contracts were all signed in the consumers’ homes, Morales was required to provide them with a three-day notice of cancellation. However, that notice was not given either verbally or in writing, Madigan’s lawsuit alleges. In addition, Morales allegedly failed to provide customers with the required “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights” brochure.

Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the defendants from engaging in the business of advertising, offering for sale and selling home repair and remodeling services and from further violating Illinois’ consumer protection laws. The lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to have been committed with the intent to defraud. Finally, Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to pay restitution to consumers.

Assistant Attorney General Jacinta Epting is handling the case for Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division.

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