MIAMI — It’s always enraging to hear when a homeowner has been ripped off by a roofing scammer, and it seems even contractors are not immune to falling for these scam artists.
According to Fox-affiliated WSVN, Marcela Sanchez of Spazio’s Nama LLC in Miami had the task of replacing the roof at the Roosevelt Condo building in South Beach.
“When I saw this building for the first time, I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is a great job that I have to do,’” Sanchez told WSVN.
However, her small contracting company focuses on small construction projects, so she decided to enlist the help of another contractor. She hired Ascend Construction LLC out of Bonita Springs, Fla. She said the company had a license and an office, so she moved forward with hiring them.
Ascend Construction offered a quote of $76,590, and she gave them a check for 10%. When the permits cleared, she wrote another check for $30,636.
“I pay to them the 40% to buy materials and start the project, and when I pay to them the 40%, he disappear,” she said.
The “he” she is referring to is Larry Arrasmith, the owner of Ascend Construction. However WSVN discovered he dissolved the company in January 2019, four months before Sanchez cut the $30,000-plus check.
To make matters worse, the check she wrote was made out to Ascend Construction LLC, but the bank records show it was altered to be “Ascend Construction Group.” A company by that names exists in Florida, but has no connection to Ascend Construction LLC.
According to WSVN, Sanchez has filed a complaint with the state in the hope of recovering her lost money through the Florida Construction Recovery Fund. Once the money is recovered, she plans on finishing the job in South Beach.
It turns out Sanchez wasn’t the only person duped by this scammer. Jo Henrion of Fort Myers, Fla. hired the company to repair the roof of her home. However, when the roof failed county inspections, she couldn’t get a hold of Aarasmith.
Scammers are far too common in the roofing industry, but states like New York and Texas are passing laws to help prevent them from succeeding. Meanwhile, those scammers that are caught, like Matthew Will in Massachusetts, are receiving prison time.