PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Peoria resident Troy Alsobrook likes to fire up his smoker and enjoy his backyard while he cooks. "I'm very happy. The dogs love it. My son plays on the grass," Troy told 3 On Your Side.
Troy's yard looks great now, because he hired a licensed and reputable company to install artificial grass. But that was after he paid a business called Montoya Landscapes a total of $5,600 to do the same job. It's run by this guy, Alejandro "Alex" Montoya. “Oh yeah. He was friendly. He brought me, like, three samples. He always checked in," Troy said.
But, after Troy paid Alex Montoya $1,000 up front and then an additional $4,600, he says Montoya did very little work in the backyard and eventually vanished with all the money. “His excuses are his truck broke. His son broke his arm. Um, it's raining."
Alex Montoya, who is not licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, never came back, forcing Troy to pay another company to do the job.
Well, turns out, Alex Montoya has allegedly pulled this stunt before when 3 On Your Side investigated him in 2018.
A fake contractor admits to taking $7,000 for a remodeling job, but blew it on himself.
Back then, an Avondale couple paid Alex Montoya nearly $7,000 for a backyard makeover and after very little work, disappeared with the money. When 3 On Your Side managed to get Alex Montoya on the phone at the time, he admitted that he spent the money on personal expenses. “So, they gave you almost $7,000 and you spent it on personal hardships?” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. "Yes," Montoya replied. “I understand and I didn't know what else to do. I understand it was a mistake and I should not have done that."
And now, according to Troy, Alex Montoya has done it again. "He finally messages me saying he's embarrassed and that he spent my money when he was sick with COVID,” Troy said. "He spent your money on himself?” Harper asked in disbelieving. “Yeah, to keep his family going," Troy said Montoya told him.
After knocking on Montoya's door recently and leaving a business card, he called us back. "What's going on?" Harper asked Montoya. “I mean you have a history of taking people's money and never finishing a project."
Again, Montoya acknowledged using Troy's $5,600 for personal expenses, saying it's been a rough year. However, Montoya also promised 3 On Your Side that he will return the money soon. Troy says, we'll see. "I mean I have never paid anyone up front like this before. That was my first time so shame on me. I'm not paying money anymore for anything until the job is done,” Troy said.
We’ll see what happens. The fake contractor says he’ll return most of Troy’s money by the end of this week.
I’ll certainly let you know what happens in a follow-up report.