Crimestoppers: Construction Scam

By February 17, 2021Press Releases

Investigators with the Columbia Police Department’s (CPD) Property Crimes Unit (PCU) are releasing a picture to help identify a wanted suspect in connection with a scam investigation.

CPD has an active warrant for the arrest of 44-year-old Tyron Bethea. Once captured, he will be charged with Obtaining Property Under False Pretenses.

He’s accused of scamming two victims out of thousands of dollars in a phony construction deal.

According to the victims, Bethea told them he owned ‘A.T.G. Construction’ and was a ‘licensed contractor in various trades.’

The suspect wrote a contract with the company’s name and gave them a quote of $28,500 to build an addition to their home.

The victims paid Bethea $2700 in cash.  Despite the payment, paperwork and agreement, Bethea allegedly failed to complete the work, and conducted business without a business license from the South Carolina Department of Labor and Licensing.

Here are construction scam prevention tips:

    • Be wary of  ‘contractors’ who stop by your house looking for work
    • Don’t fall for limited-time offers, or the pressure to hire a contractor on the spot to get a discount
    • Don’t pay for services upfront
    • Don’t accept an offer to arrange financing through a lender of their choice
    • Insist on seeing references
    • Ask detailed questions
    • Ask to see a recently completed project site
    • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to find out the contractors rating or if any complaints have been filed
    • Require all agreements in writing
    • According to the BBB says a contract should include a detailed description of the work, material costs, start and completion dates, and warranty information
    • File a complaint with the BBB if you’ve been scammed or poorly served by a contractor
    • Notify local police

Citizens with information about Bethea’s whereabouts are encouraged to contact CRIMESTOPPERS in any of the following ways:

CALL toll-free, 888-CRIME-SC.

LOG onto:, and click on the red “Submit a tip” tab.

DOWNLOAD the new P3 Tips App for Apple or Android devices.