AG Cooper shuts down home repair fraudster who ripped off Wake Forest couple
Release date: 7/19/2007
Home remodeler took more than $140,000 from disabled seniors, left their home in shambles
Raleigh: A Franklin County man who took more than $140,000 from a Wake Forest couple to make their home wheelchair accessible but left them with unfinished rooms, holes in the floor and live wires dangling from the ceiling is now barred from the home repair business in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Thursday.
“We’ve stopped this so-called contractor from ripping up any more homes and ripping off any more consumers,” Cooper said. “This couple spent their hard-earned money trying to improve their home but got left with a disaster.”
Wake County Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones today agreed with Cooper’s request to halt John Shearer, also known as John Schearer, and his company Home Remodeling Solutions from repairing or remodeling any more homes in North Carolina. The order also requires that any proceeds from the sale of Shearer’s own home which is currently on the market go to the court to potentially be used to reimburse consumers. Cooper is asking the court to permanently ban Shearer from the home repair business and to require him to pay refunds to consumers and civil penalties.
As alleged in Cooper’s complaint, Shearer agreed in June 2006 to work on George and Carol McPhauls’ Wake Forest home. The McPhauls, retired state employees, sought to remodel their one-story home because George McPhaul had recently suffered a stroke that left him disabled. They agreed to pay Shearer $84,000 to add a handicapped accessible entrance, bathroom and bedroom, to modernize the kitchen to help Carol McPhaul, who is legally blind, and to make other repairs. A year later, the McPhauls have written Shearer checks worth $124,000 and incurred credit card charges of at least $20,000 but the work remains incomplete and their once well-kept home is in disrepair.
Cooper contends that Shearer ripped down walls throughout the home, left live wires exposed and left the floors uneven with holes in the subfloor through which the dirt crawlspace is visible. Parts of the home are now open to the exterior and to the elements, causing the McPhauls’ utility bills to rise sharply. The Attorney General’s Office estimates that it will cost the McPhauls thousands of dollars to fix the damage done to their home by Shearer.
As stated in the complaint, Shearer, who claimed to be a licensed contractor but is not, also failed to get proper permits from the Town of Wake Forest and failed to perform work up to code. In North Carolina, contractors who work on projects valued at $30,000 or more are required to be licensed by the Licensing Board for General Contractors.
North Carolina law enforcement officials have won more than 400 felony convictions in recent years against fraudulent repair contractors who targeted older homeowners. Cooper’s office recommends that consumers planning a large repair project make sure their contractor is properly licensed and beware of any contractor who claims that building and electrical permits are not necessary.
Any other consumers who are dissatisfied with work performed by Shearer or his company are encouraged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.