An Allegheny contractor is accused of taking money from customers but never finishing the work he was hired to do.
Target 11 found that contractor is facing a number of criminal charges of home improvement fraud and theft.
Rich Barone's home improvement contractor registration with the state expired in August. Since then, he's been charged with home improvement fraud in eight cases.
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"He started by breaking my porch and then he disappeared," said Gerald Miller, who hired Barone. "He never came back."
Miller lives in Verona, and took photos showing the mess he said Barone left behind. Miller said he paid Barone $1,900 for a new concrete porch and section of the driveway. It had been money he and his wife had saved for vacation.
"This year we said we would stay home and put the money in the house, get a new porch. But he took our vacation money and he was gone," said Miller.
Since August, police in Bridgeville, Bethel Park, Elizabeth Township, Pittsburgh, Penn Hills, Verona, and Munhall have all filed home improvement fraud and theft charges against Barone. In most of the cases, Barone is accused of starting the work but never finishing the projects.
Target 11 tried to track down Barone at his Glassport home, but nobody answered the door. Barone did reach out to Target 11's Rick Earle via text message, saying "I'm not out to screw anyone. I was in business for 10 years and the last year and a half was hell for me. Believe me I didn't mean no harm."
The criminal cases against Barone will likely head to trial in 2018, unless a plea agreement is in place. In the meantime, the families impacted want justice.
"I would like something to happen to him. I don't know if I will ever see my money, but I would like something to happen to him," said Miller.
In total, Barone is accused of taking $11,000. Barone told Target 11 he now has the money to pay back all of the customers, but at least one of those customers said he's heard that before.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
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