GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Grand Rapids single mother said a roofer took her money and left a mess.
Amanda Cornell recently bought a house on Nevada Street SE in Alger Heights. She said she has had a few rough years and the house was her fresh start. But now she's out $5,000 and says she has to redo her roof.
Cornell said when she realized she needed a new roof, she hired Ray Fuentes, who said he was licensed and insured.
"He just took me," she said.
Mistakes in the roofing are visible even to the untrained eye.
"Up in the corner you can see wood and nail. It's not even shingled there," Cornell showed Target 8 Thursday.
She said the new roof is leaking in at least two places.
"You can see the remnants of the water. The top shelf was filling up with water. It was pouring over onto the floor," she said. "It's hard to tell where it's coming from, but it's a lot. I've dried out my bed several times. The mattress has been soaked."
And outside, she said, the roofer left his mark on her siding.
"You can see the black tar marks. They were just snapping it and everywhere down the side," she said.
The back of her garage is covered by a tarp because Fuentes tore off all the gutters and also took off the fascia, causing water to pour into the garage when it rains.
"He was just ripping gutters down and he's like, 'These are old gutters. I'm going to take care of you. You're a single mom. I'm going to get some new gutters up there,'" she said.
She says she paid Fuentes half up front and he demanded the rest of the money the day he finished the job, even though there were no new gutters and some family friends in the roofing business told her not pay him the rest.
"Him and two buddies came over and said it was the worst roof job they'd ever seen in their entire life," she said. "They're like, 'You gotta replace the whole thing.'"
But when she tried to talk to Fuentes, she says things got nasty.
"When I got home, the roof guy, he's in my driveway. He's got probably about six family members. They're all very like pumped up and aggressive," she said. "I was getting scared. I made the kids go inside."
She ended up paying Fuentes the whole $5,100 after an hour-long argument in her driveway.
Target 8 investigators checked Fuentes' record and found he did prison time for contractor fraud. Local court records in Muskegon say he kept money for a roofing job he didn't do. And there is no evidence that he is licensed as a builder or insured, as he reportedly told Cornell.
It wasn't difficult to track Fuentes down. He lives two doors down from Cornell.
In his driveway was Fuentes' soon-to-be ex-wife Kim.
"You're going down, Ray," Kim told Fuentes when Target 8 investigators showed up. "You're a scam artist."
Fuentes himself refused to speak to Target 8.
"I think that many of us in Ray's life have been screwed by him at some point. I'm just trying to move forward with my children," Kim said.
After Fuentes backed out of his driveway and headed off, Kim said she is a nurse, has been supporting the whole family and that the only roofing job Fuentes has done since he got out of prison in 2011 is the one on Cornell's house.
Cornell said family and friends will help her tear off the bad roof and put on a new one.
She said the lesson is check background to ask to see a contractor's license and insurance policy. The State of Michigan also has a website where you can verify the license.
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