3OYS: Valley businessman charged with fraud

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by Gary Harper, Warren Trent

azfamily.com

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 10:20 PM

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Valley businessman has been indicted on theft, money laundering and fraud charges in Pima County.

The 35-count indictment spearheaded by the Arizona Attorney General's Office alleges that Michael Fricker and his company, Salt River Solar & Wind, took more than $350,000 from customers and did little or no work.

"We did some research, and we wanted to do some solar panels on the house to try to offset our electric bill," said customer Jeromy McMahon.

He said he signed a contract with Fricker's company to have solar power installed at his home in 2011.

"I gave them $3,900 and received no work, no nothing," McMahon said.

If McMahon's saga sounds familiar, it's probably because 3 On Your Side investigated Fricker about a year ago after a Buckeye couple handed over thousands of dollars for solar panels to be installed and never received anything.

"The solar panels that they were going to put up are going to be on this west-facing roof line and over the garage on the south-facing roof line," David Huff explained.

And the list of angry consumers is growing.

"I filed a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors and they said, 'Well, wait in line,' " McMahon said.
 
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors confirmed they have received nearly 200 complaints about Fricker and Salt River Solar & Wind.

Although the Attorney General’s Office is suing Fricker on behalf of Pima County residents, it's unknown if a similar case will be pursued in Maricopa County to help out customers like McMahon.

3 On Your Side tried to find Fricker and pulled up an address for a Peoria home, which had solar panels on its roof.

Gary Harper knocked on the front door but family members said Fricker wasn't available.

McMahon said he's glad something is finally being done about Fricker but wonders if he'll ever see his money again.

"It just disgusts me," he said. "I hope that maybe I'll see the light and maybe try to get my money back but you know, I'm not counting on it."
 
For more information about the Arizona Registrar of Contractors visit www.azroc.gov.

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