'I don't care what people think': CBS 58 confronts alleged serial construction scammer
WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Summer is a popular time for homeowners to do maintenance and upkeep in and outside of their homes, but there's a warning from a Milwaukee man, who says do your homework before hiring contractors so you do not fall victim to a scam.
"Mark my words, I'm not going to let you be until justice gets served," said Bernie Gonzalez.
We often hear, "paying up front is an easy way to get ripped off." That, unfortunately, proved true for Bernie Gonzalez, a Waukesha homeowner.
"He did some very minor, preliminary work, after that there were just excuses. He wouldn't come in, he said he'd finish in four days, weeks went by and he didn't come back," said Gonzalez.
Gonzales met Jose de Jesus Juarez Delgado after he posted an ad on Facebook to pave a driveway at one of his properties. That's when Juarez Delgado showed up, a supposed contractor who claimed to work under a company called "RJ Design and Construction LLC."
CBS 58 contacted the owner of the company but they refused to answer questions. CBS 58 went to the address listed in the company's public records seeking answers but we didn't get any.
"There are a lot of people he defrauded, not just myself and I hope he stops doing this because it's not fair and it's not right for the families that are working hard for their money," said Gonzalez.
Delgado now faces a felony for theft of moveable property, but he has failed to make several court appearances.
According to court documents, Juarez Delgado is accused of taking off with $5,000.
"He doesn't show up and all he does is try to buy time and buy time and that's what I've learned that he does. He tries to get it so people get frustrated and then let it go," said Gonzalez.
CBS 58 was finally able to get in contact with Juarez Delgado by telephone, who at first showed no remorse for the accusations he faced.
"I don't care what people think," Juarez Delgado said.
When asked if he would pay back the money, he decided he didn't want to continue the interview.
"I don't give permission for this interview," said Juarez Delgado.
During the recording of our conversation, Juarez Delgado added he recognizes his mistakes in failing other people, but that he is working to fix the problems.
So how do you find out if a business is legitimate and active? CBS 58 took that question to the Better Business Bureau.
"You need to shop around, get several different estimates. You really need to do your homework. Check with the Better Business Bureau, see what kind of reports we have on the company. If there's been any complaints or reviews, our report will show that."
In the meantime, Bernie Gonzalez hopes people watching can learn from his mistake.
"He is definitely a professional at being a con artist. He could sell you a rock if he wanted to. That's how good he is at conning," said Gonzalez.