Contractor takes off with woman's money

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman paid $12,000 to start a remodeling job but says the contractor took off with her money.

The total project was supposed to cost $37,000, but to get started he wanted $12,000 upfront.

The contractor took the money and then he took off.

"I envisioned this beautiful kitchen with beautiful cabinets," Ernestine Parker said.

Parker had big hopes for her new kitchen.

"Expand the kitchen to make it larger and I wanted a covered patio and kitchen cabinets," she said.

After saving and saving, Parker finally had the money in January to start on her dream kitchen so she hired Frank Horton.

Horton claimed to own a remodeling company called F & J Enterprises.

"He was very nice and I felt like he was trustworthy," Parker said.

To remodel and expand her kitchen, Horton was going to charge Parker $37,000. But upfront he asked for $12,000 and Parker handed over the check and anxiously waited for her kitchen.

"I wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner in the new kitchen for my family and now I can't do that," she said.

That's because after putting up a few walls and leaving a few holes, Parker said Horton just stopped showing up.

"He took the money and disappeared," she said.

That's when Parker called 3 On Your Side.

We went to Horton's Scottsdale home a couple different times, but no one ever answered. However, Horton did call us back.

He acknowledged abandoning Parker and running off with her $12,000 and he promised to return all of that money.

Horton even agreed to meet with 3 On Your Side, but he never showed.

As for that money he promised to return, Parker says she'll probably never see it and she's angry with herself for putting so much trust into someone.

"I have nothing to show for it, except for holes in the wall, and everything is a mess," she said.

Horton is not a licensed contractor so the work he is supposed to be doing for Parker is illegal.

Also, Horton has warrants out for his arrest for allegedly contracting without a license.

Never, ever, ever give money upfront to a contractor.