Local sheriff’s investigators announced they asking potential victims of an unlicensed contractor scam to come forward, an official confirmed Tuesday.
Several residents reported to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station that they were victimized by 52-year-old Richard Bannister.
The residents claimed Bannister “collected thousands of dollars for home improvement projects, without completing any of the work or delivering products as promised,” according to a sheriff’s station news release posted on Facebook.
The release said Bannister was arrested by detectives on Jan 13 and charged with grand theft, according to station spokeswoman Shirley Miller.
“After further investigation, the case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on February 3, 2020, and five felonies and two misdemeanors were subsequently filed against Bannister,” the release states.
“Bannister is an ex-employee of a construction company, who possibly may have used his prior employment to contact homeowners and establish credibility,” the release states.
Detectives determined the man did not have a contractor’s license.
“The investigation alleges Bannister collected a majority of the total cost of each project prior to beginning work. Bannister would then never return to complete the job despite multiple messages, emails and phone calls from frustrated clients,” the statement said.
One of the victims included a senior citizen who paid Bannister more than $30,000 for work on his home that was never finished, Miller confirmed.
Detectives determined the money was unlawfully diverted by Bannister.
“Another victim paid Bannister thousands of dollars to start work on adding a bathroom in her house. After repeated phone calls, Bannister finally agreed to refund the victim half the payment. After the victim took the check to her bank for depositing, she was informed by the bank that the check had bounced, and the account that it was written from had insufficient funds to cover it,” Miller said.
“Not only was Bannister allegedly taking payment for construction work that was never completed, but he also stands accused of selling appliances for a discounted price, and never delivering the product. Bannister offered to sell a refrigerator retailing for $7,000 at a discounted rate of $4,500. The victim wrote him a check, however the appliance never arrived,” Miller said.
Detectives are asking for the public’s help in encouraging any victims of the scam to contact Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.