Investigators with the Columbia Police Department’s (CPD) Property Crimes Unit (PCU) have arrested a man in connection with a scam investigation.
44-year-old Tyron Bethea is charged with Obtaining Property Under False Pretenses. Bethea is out of the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (ASGDC) on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond set by a judge.
Bethea is 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