(WHAS11) This Consumer Watch is a follow up to a story we brought you a year ago when we featured a woman who was determined to get her money back from a concrete contractor; a contractor with a growing list of unsatisfied customers.
WHAS11’s Andy Treinen has a warning for anyone entering a contract, right or wrong; getting your money back is no easy task.
Andy first met Tuajana Bowens in early 2010; since then she’s been in court multiple times fighting for her money and says that now, it’s about principle. The man contracted to build her a driveway has been there right along with her and she says “he’s just a con artist, that’s all he is.”
Jones Williams has his share of unsatisfied customers who have filed civil lawsuits against him, and his attorney argues that this too is a civil matter. “Somehow, somebody has gotten the government to collect a civil debt for them.”
Bowens paid Williams $1,798 dollars on March 15, 2010. Williams cashed the check that day; but in the 394 days since, he’s not even once shown up to do the job. “This man took my money, he did not do the work, then he wrote me a bad check,” said Bowens.
This problem, for Bowens, is like so many other cases that end up in civil court where victims never see a dime; but prosecutors think this is a criminal case and because of that, the case of the Commonwealth of Kentucky versus Williams is now set for trial.
“She wrote him a check, he cashed it and then he did nothing. So that’s what makes it a little more cut and dried and that’s what separates it from a regular breach of contract. Is it theft? I do believe that’s it’s theft by failure to make required disposition of property,” said Bowens’ attorney.
Prosecuting Attorney Allice Milligan says the commonwealth has a criminal remedy for these situations; a remedy con men need to be aware of. She’s hoping the defense accepts a plea before the July 18 trial. “I’m not sure if the defendant will accept the offer. We’re hopeful that we can eventually recover restitution for our victim.” A determined victim who first got Williams arrested when he returned from a gambling trip to Louisiana.
Now, one year later, Tuajana Bowens is rolling the dice for all victims on the criminal court system. “I’m fighting their cause, but I’m fighting mine… you want your money back, I want my money back and I’m determined to get my money back, just as he’s determined not to pay it; so something is going to break between the two,” said Bowens.
A grand jury returned an indictment against Jones Williams and there are other civil complaints against him. The prosecution claims he took the money without ever expecting to do the job.