Contractor takes widow's money and disappears

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shirley Sanders has lived in her home since 1961.

"Everybody that comes to this neighborhood loves this neighborhood."

But for many years she wasn't really happy with a chain link fence that sat on her driveway and enclosed a motor home.
"I never liked it. When we had the motor home parked out there with the fence I never liked it," said Sanders.

After selling the motor home and dismantling most of the fence, Sanders wanted to remove the rest of it so she could install a decorative iron gate that would extend out from her home and conceal her backyard.

"My husband and I, before he had passed away, we had always talked about when we got rid of the motor home have it moved back and have a pretty decorative gate put there," said Sanders.

Sanders hired Johnathan Keene who owns a business called Keene Fabricating.

According to his web page, Keene claims to do a lot of iron work. The website has pictures of work claimed to be done by the company.

Sanders didn't mind giving Keene $500 up front, half of the $1,000 he was charging for the iron gate.

"He said, oh you're going to love your gate. He said it's all finished it's just that I've got to get help to get it installed," said Sanders.

After Sanders gave Keene that $500 down payment he never came back and he stopped returning her calls.

“It's just like he's just ignoring me," said Sanders.

3 On Your Side got a hold Jonathan Keene and on the phone, he told us would be sending Sanders a refund. We took him at his word but we were disappointed.

Keene never returned that money to Sanders so 3 On Your Side decided to visit him. We looked up Keene Fabricating and the address listed on documents is in the city of Surprise on Cactus Road -- an address that does not exist.

Keene's website paints a very different picture of his company claiming: "...We're committed to providing you with the highest level of service, so you'll always be happy that you chose us."
It goes on to say, "We may not be related, but you'll feel like we're family." 

3 On Your Side contacted Keene one more time about that refund and sent an email saying he's fallen "on hard times."

But Sanders says it just doesn't add up, a fictitious address, skipping out on her job, and keeping her money.

She says she's the one who's fallen on hard times.

"Is he taking advantage of me because I am a widow?," said Sanders.

Keene is an unlicensed contractor. Sanders said she plans to file a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors which may be able to help her get her money back.