3 On Your Side

Cancer patient taken for $15K by unlicensed contractor

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(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

“I'm Gary Harper with Channel 3” 

As soon as 3 On Your Side's camera showed up, Agostinho Lopes ran into his garage and shut the door on us.

Gary Harper: "You owe a lot of money, sir, you want the police coming back after you? I suggest you open this back up." 

Closing the door and running seems to be a common theme for the unlicensed contractor, according to tearful Barbara Carrick.

“I don't know how people treat other people this way.”

Carrick says she paid Lopes right around $15,000 in various payments in order to remodel her home.  Including adding on a room so she, her daughter, and four grandsons would have more space.

So, back in August of last year, she scraped together money and handed it over to Agostinho Lopes.

"I took out my retirement."

Lopes, who operates a business he calls European Contractor LLC, claimed he could complete the project done in two months.

But, after giving the unlicensed contractor 15-grand, she says Lopes framed out the room addition and did some other work, and then, he stopped showing up.  

In the meantime, Carrick has been diagnosed with aggressive cancer and needs her house finished.

“I was diagnosed with renal cancer that has metastasized to my lungs and my bones and they found a spot on my brain.”

Which brings us back to our visit with Agostinho Lopes. 

After running inside his Peoria home, he opened his door and sent his "guard dog" after us. 

Gary Harper: "Come on out and talk to us sir. Don't hide from us.” 

Well, Agostinho Lopes eventually did come out, to get his dog anyway. 
But, explaining why he took $15,000 and abandoned Carrick's project wasn't something he wanted to talk about.

Gary Harper: "Augie you took money from a woman with cancer!"
Agostinho Lopes: "I don't want to talk to you!" 
Gary Harper: "Well I want to talk to you!" 
Agostinho Lopes: "You're full of sh** and she's nuts too!"

Agostinho Lopes never would explain what he did with all of Carrick's money, and eventually he ran off.

Gary Harper: "You should be ashamed of yourself Mr. Lopes!  I hope you sleep well at night.”

A tearful Carrick says she’s devastated and is left fighting two battles.
The fight to get her remodeling project finished and her fight to beat cancer.

“I feel like if my room was done and I could just go in there and relax it would just help me a lot in my fight of this disease. This is added stress I don't need!”

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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