Local business owners thought they were helping out a local veteran when they hired the contractor to do work. However, they soon found out their renovations weren't going to go according to plan.
Jennifer Urich contacted 11 Investigates with her story. She is planning on renovating a shipping container in Riverfront Park at Aspinwall into a coffee shop by the end of May. She hired Thomas Adametz to get the plumbing work done and paid him $10,000 to do it.
"He met my family, we talked about our how our children are the same age, we talked about our mothers," Urich said. "I felt like I could trust him."
What Urich didn't know was that days before she wrote Adametz a $5,500 check as a down payment , he was arrested and charged with theft and fraudulent business practices by Pittsburgh police.
"Right after he got out, he came to my home and stole $5,540 from me," she said.
Those first charges were filed on behalf of John Comer, who hired Adametz in December to do plumbing on his coffee shop, The Grind, which will soon be opening on Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh.
"He seemed like a nice guy," Comer told 11 Investigates. "He had a military background, which I respected. I thought he was the right guy for the job."
Two months and $2,600 dollars later, Comer is in court trying to figure out if he will get his money back.
"He just took my money," Comer said. "It's a shame because he has military status. The same guy fighting for our country comes back and cons us."
After hearing from several victims, 11 Investigates started digging into Adametz's background.
The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed he's not licensed as a plumber in the county, nor is his company, Valor Mechanical.
A simple Google search shows the only listing for Valor Mechanical is out of Rochester, Minnesota.
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We gave them a call, but they had never heard of him.
11 Investigates reporter Aaron Martin confronted Adametz after one of his court hearings, but he had no interest in answering any questions.
Urich is resigned to the fact she may not see her money again. The scam means her business won't open for another month, but she hopes her story will convince others to come forward before there are more victims.
"There are a lot of people out there pulling these scams," Urich said. "We just need to be more vocal about it because it seems like the justice system isn't really working out too well in our favor."
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