Unlicensed contractor dupes homeowner out of $1,500

(Source: 3TV)

Jason Asbury was hoping to turn his backyard mess into a backyard paradise, complete with pavers and artificial grass.

To save money on the project, Asbury did all the excavating himself.

"Yeah, let's say I had a lot of pent-up energy, and I needed to be productive," Asbury said as he showed us around his yard. "It's a lot of dirt moving, and when you get done, you're like, 'How do I get the dirt out of the yard?'"

To haul off all the dirt that he dug up, Asbury turned to Craigslist last month and found a guy named Carlos Rodriguez. 3 On Your Side was able to obtain a photograph of Rodriguez.

According to Asbury, Rodriguez claimed to be licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and offered to not only haul off that dirt, but he also said he could finish the entire job by installing the artificial grass and pavers Asbury wanted.

The price? Just over $2,000.

"I said, 'You know, that sounds like a pretty good deal, and I think we'll go forward with that,'" Asbury said he told Rodriguez.

Asbury wound up handing over three different payments, totaling just over $1,500 -- almost the price of the entire project -- with the expectation that Rodriguez would complete the job in a few days.

That's not what happened.

Asbury told 3 On Your Side that Rodriguez abandoned the job before he even started, and kept the money.

"You have a yard that is torn up? You're out $1,500, and Carlos Rodriguez is missing?" I asked.

"That's right," said a frustrated Asbury.

3 On Your Side went to the address listed on Rodriguez' Arizona identification card, which was issued in January. Nobody ever answered the door.

Rodriguez wound up calling me back and even promised to return Asbury's $1,500.

"I definitely can give their money back," Rodriguez said. "I can make that happen this weekend."

He never showed, and it's not surprising.

Rodriguez hasn't shown up for his court dates regarding felony theft charges from another victim and, as a result, a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Asbury is angry and wishes he had checked out Rodriguez a lot better before giving him money.

"It makes me feel naive and stupid," Asbury said. "It's a quick live-and-learn lesson for me."

3 On Your Side isn't finished looking into Rodriguez. We'll keep pursuing him, and we will let you know if he returns Asbury's money or if he's picked up by police.Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

3 On Your Side' Investigative Reporter

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