OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs couple, George and Mary Morgan wanted a patio in their backyard. The couple signed a contract with Brian Paul, owner of Artisan Aluminum on March 15. Paul's crew started the patio project 2 1/2 months ago.
George Morgan said, "They took the money. They put up four little posts and have not returned since then."
George says he paid Brian Paul $3,125.00 with the remaining $3,000.00 to be paid when the project was completed.
"Makes me sick to my stomach that I work so hard for my money, and someone can take it just like that," George said.
The Mississippi Better Business Bureau gives Artisan Aluminum an "F" rating. Brian Paul has also used the company name Everything Aluminum.
Mary says since Brian Paul didn't return, the couple hired another company to finish the job.
She said, "The end amount will be $12,000 to $13,000 for a simple patio cover that should have cost around $6,000 or $7,000."
WLOX Action Reporter A.J. Giardina called Brian Paul to ask him about the allegations. His phone number is no longer in service.
The Morgan's filed a complaint with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department on April 19th.
About a month ago, Paul got into legal trouble. His mug shot was taken in May at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center. Investigators said they had enough evidence to link Paul to home repair fraud for the Morgan work and one other construction project that reportedly never got completed in Vancleave.
On June 7th, a second police department arrested the contractor. Long Beach police accused Paul of home repair fraud saying in a news release he allegedly received a deposit for home repairs, but never returned to do the work.
Paul, 30, of Biloxi was transported to the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. His bond was set at $50,000.
Mary said, "This is theft. They actually walk on your property, and they steal your money. Your hard-earned money, and they just leave. So, yes, the law definitely needs to be changed. These people are criminals."
State Attorney General Jim Hood told Giardina that contractor fraud is somewhat of a gray area, but if you have an issue you can file a complaint with his office, and they would investigate.
The Consumer Protection Division of the State Attorney General's Office has great information. You can log-on to the website and look at the home repair checklist to help avoid contractor fraud.