NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - From accused to charged, public records show that a contractor, first reported upon by News4 Investigates, has been arrested on Home Improvement Fraud.
Joshua Murphy, a man customers have complained they’ve had trouble getting to respond, is facing charges for Fraud by Home Improvement Services in Sumner County.
According to a warrant, a homeowner contacted Murphy last May to put up a fence at his home. The homeowner paid more than $7,000 to install a fence but claims it never happened. That problem sounds familiar.
Three people in Middle Tennessee came to News4 Investigates, saying Murphy never completed the work they paid him for. The findings from our investigation were also highlighted in the Hendersonville Detective’s police report.
In a call 4 Action investigation, accusations of unfinished work keep piling up against contractor Josh Murphy. Now our Call 4 Action team has discovered Murphy has ties to another company, and it's also getting complaints from customers.
In this latest case, the customer went to the police. The customer sent a certified letter to Murphy and the AG’s office requesting a refund.
According to state statute T.C.A. 39-14-154, Murphy had 90 days to refund the money to the customer. When Murphy didn’t, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The report reads, Murphy informed detectives that he has a lawyer that he still has to pay. His lawyer told him not to talk to anyone about his debt. Murphy also told police he is trying to file for bankruptcy so that he can be excused from the debt. Murphy is now out on a $7,500.00 bond.
News4 reached out to Murphy by phone and text. We have not heard back.
Six months after March’s deadly tornadoes, Josh Murphy was out and about, helping rebuild North Nashville. That’s where our News4 crew interviewed him.
The state Attorney General’s Office says this case is important. If you feel someone has taken your money and not delivered as promised, then you can explore filing criminal charges.
“If somebody takes money from you and promises to do work, that he or she doesn’t do, then yes, they may have violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Laws. The thing is, we would have to take a look at what was promised, and what was delivered, and why,” Samantha Fisher, Director of Communications at the TN Attorney General’s Office said.
According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Tennessee's felony theft law covers consumers for whenever a contractor takes money and fails to perform the work within 90 days. If that occurs, a consumer may go to local law enforcement to take out a warrant for their arrest.
The statute has specific steps to follow where a consumer must first notify the contractor in writing to refund the money within 10 days and copy the Tennessee Attorney General's office with the letter.
After 10 days, consumers may then move forward with asking law enforcement to have the contractor arrested and criminally prosecuted. If the contractor is found guilty, the court gives the contractor the option to pay restitution in lieu of serving time jail time.
The Board for Licensing Contractors cannot force a licensee to repair damages, complete a project, award monetary judgments or even refund money; the Board may only discipline the contractor.
However, they encourage consumers to report complaints as a means for the Board to monitor these professionals; evaluate if they are entitled to keep their license; means to offer public awareness to protect others from being harmed, including those not licensed. Often, filing a complaint may offer a means to communicate a problem and resolve the issues.
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