Two roofing contractors have been banned from doing business in North Carolina after being accused of defrauding victims of Hurricane Florence.
According to a release from North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, his offices won separate default judgments against Dennis L. Daugherty, Jr. and Jorge Alberto Garcia. The judgments state neither contractor can no longer perform contracting or home repair work in the state.
“Scammers strike when people are most vulnerable – just like these two contractors did,” said Stein. “When they do, I’ll hold them accountable. I’m pleased that the court has acted to keep these two from ever taking advantage of North Carolinians again.”
In April, Stein filed a lawsuit against Daugherty, Jr., and his companies, Illinois-based company Green Lantern Services LLC, and his North Carolina-based company Green Lantern Roofing and Restoration LLC. Stein claimed they came to coastal North Carolina after Hurricane Florence hit in 2018 and went door to door, falsely claiming to be a licensed contractor.
Green Lantern representatives reportedly said they had dozens of laborers ready to do the work. Ultimately, Green Lantern did minimal, shoddy work, didn’t pay subcontractors and left jobs unfinished despite demanding advance payments from customers. The North Carolina Department of Justice's Consumer Protection Division had received nine complaints from customers who paid a total of more than $250,000 to the defendants.
Daugherty, Jr. promised to refund monies to victims but failed to do so. In addition to being banned, the defendants must pay $260,829 in restitution and $45,000 in civil penalties.
The second default judgment permanently bans Triangle-area contractor Garcia, his company JH Home Improvements Inc., and his wife, Helen Smith Flores, from doing contracting and home repair work in North Carolina. Garcia was accused of targeting and manipulating elderly homeowners to hire him and his company to do unnecessary home repairs and improvements, often overcharging and repeatedly not finishing projects. According to the Port City Daily, one such customer was a 76-year-old woman with dementia. He also borrowed money from some victims and failed to pay back most of the loans.
Port City Daily reports that Garcia's history of practicing as an unlicensed contractor and fraudulent schemes date back to 2015. In 2021, he plead guilty to stealing over $3 million from customers and was ordered in January 2022 to pay over $4 million in restitution. He received a sentence of 10 years in prison and three years supervised release.