HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - This year has been tough enough as it is on businesses, but imagine someone out there giving yours a bad name.
A reputation almost ruined by someone ripping people off - that’s the situation for one Valley business owner who has a warning for you.
Handyman, Johnny Ray Jordan, has racked up years of theft charges, deception charges, and citations. He’s left dozens of unhappy customers in his wake.
Fast forward to 2020, and he picked up a new name and a new a trade - building decks under the business name Huntsville Deck Builders.
“He’s changed names of companies, he goes by different names himself, the police are well familiar with him,” said Brian Snider, Owner of Deckbuilders. "So your name is, Deckbuilders, that’s been my name since I started that business in 1996. His name is Huntsville Deck Builders, three words,” explained Snider.
Snider was shocked when a supposed customer showed up to his business looking for their money, as well as Jordan.
“Using a name so similar to mine and then when that company is not a legitimate company and they steal money from customers, I’m worried about my reputation, but more worried about the people getting ripped off,” added Snider.
Madison resident, Charles Brooks, says he’s out thousands of dollars after dealing with Jordan.
After seeing an ad for Huntsville Deck Builders on Facebook, he decided to pay Jordan to build two decks.
“Very soon we started getting red flags, but by that time it was too late because we had already signed a contract and paid a substantial down payment,” said Charles Brooks.
Eight months later, only one deck was built.
“I kept asking him when is it going to be finished, when is it going to be finished and he would always give me a certain day, it will be done by Friday or this date and it never was finished,” added Brooks.
Then came the proof they made a costly decision by hiring Jordan.
“When we found out he was in jail, we hired another contractor to finish it up, we found out he didn’t even buy enough materials to start with,” said Brooks.
Johnny Ray Jordan is in the Limestone County jail right now, facing theft of property charges after already being indicted for another theft in the county.
He’s also technically out on bond for theft charges in Morgan County.
This comes after warrants were issued for his arrest from the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board.
“They usually get several bites at the apple before a judge finally gets tired of what they are doing,” said Chip Carden, Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board President.
Carden said contracting work is very lucrative for scammers.
They advise everyone to always ask for a contractor’s license, and verify it with the state licensure board. Avoid paying money upfront and if they say it’s for buying materials, “You say, ok I’ll order the materials and have them delivered to my job, I’m in charge of getting those materials, tell me what you need,” added Carden.
Another red flag to look out for is some scammers will convince you they’ll be back to start the work in a week and you won’t see them again, or they’ll do a little bit of work and disappear which turns that into a civil matter instead of a criminal one.
The moral of this story, do your homework before signing anything, and before you hand over your hard-earned money.