CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a suit against an unlicensed Raleigh County plumbing contractor who supposedly scammed at least 7 paying customers of over $5,700 in payments for projects that the contractor never ended up finishing.
The lawsuit targets the defendant, Jerry Smales, who pretended to be a plumber, even though he had no proof of any licensing or certification. The lawsuit will also make sure that he can’t get any type of contracting employment in the state of West Virginia, and he also must make payments back to his victims in restitution and penalties. These violations occurred through his alias company, Mountaineer Plumbing and Beckley Plumbing.
“Anyone engaging in home improvement contracting of any type must complete their work. When someone believes he can disregard his obligations to his customers, he should expect vigorous litigation from our office.”Attorney General Morrisey
Apparently, Smales was operating his fake plumbing company from a UPS store in Beckley, according to the civil complaint that was filed in the Raleigh County Circuit Court.
Mr. Smales’s scam victimized his customers all the way back to December 2018, in which most of the projects were plumbing work and all took place in Raleigh County.
The Attorney General’s allegation is claiming Smales of making false earnings from his victims, totaling $5,766.78, but never completed any of the work for the 7 projects. He also never provided refunds, which was frequently asked by his victimized customers. The lawsuit just clearly makes the claim that Smales or any of his workers were in fact not licensed plumbers.
The lawsuit goes even further saying that the victims are accusing Smales that when they complained to him about incomplete or shoddy work, Smales would serve them fake court subpoenas that were filled with false statements and would stalk them and track them on social media to get them to pay bills they did not need to owe.
The lawsuit charges Smales with unfair or deceptive practices, lying about and failing to complete work as complied and promised, and failure to notify his customers 3 days in advance when they requested cancellation.
The Attorney General wants to make it clear that the lawsuit also states that a court order is put in place to permanently prohibit Smales from getting any other type of future employment in contracting, owner, employee, subcontractor, or any other means.
The lawsuit also requests a $5,000 penalty for each violation of the state’s consumer law, compensation for each victim who has not received a judgment yet against the defendant, as well as reimbursement for the investigation and ligation expenses through the state.