Fake contractor fails to return $2,600 to Peoria homeowner

Armando Bello-Place promised to return money that he took from a Peoria homeowner for a project he never started.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:08 PM MST|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 6:05 PM MST
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PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - On Your Side always likes to follow up to see if companies or, in this case, an individual made good on their promise to make things right. This fake contractor promised to return money that he took from a homeowner for a project he never started. “I believe he’s very good at conniving and lying and not being truthful,” Louis Trujillo said. He’s the homeowner who’s supposed to get that refund but hasn’t. “My main goal from this is hopefully to warn others to not be taken by this guy.”

He’s talking about Armando Bello-Place. In On Your Side’s first report, he claimed to be in the concrete business, and Louis hired him to install a paver driveway in front of his RV gate. But after handing over $2,600 to start the job, Bello-Place disappeared and never returned. “Well, I hope you can find the guy and put him on the spot pretty much,” Louis told On Your Side.

On Your Side was unable to physically find the fake contractor, but we did reach him by phone and through text messages. After giving a list of excuses why he disappeared with Louis’ money, he texted On Your Side several times, saying he intended to return the money in a few weeks. One text asks if he’s on track to returning the money. He responds, “Yes.” When that didn’t happen, he texted On Your Side again, saying, “I promise to you, I am going to pay this money...” Again, nothing but empty promises. Louis said, “In my opinion, he knows what he’s doing. He knows what he’s doing. You know when you are being dishonest and stealing from people. Just outright stealing from people.”

Armando Bello-Place is an ex-con who got out of prison four years ago. Since then, he’s been convicted at least once for contracting without a license. Louis says in the future, he’s learned not to hand over money to start a job and wants others to learn as well. “You work so hard to get to where you’re at and people like this come along and take advantage of you.”

Before hiring anyone to do a home project, always make sure they are legitimate and licensed by searching them on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Here’s their link: https://roc.az.gov/