My question is, what qualifies for theft by deception? Can I file a police report as well? And finally, is there anything that I can do that would most likely get me that money back?
Thanks for your time,
2 attorney answers
I am an attorney from Ohio. This is not legal advice, but informational and does not form an attorney-client relationship.
You can go on the Ohio Secretary of State website (http://www2.sos.state.oh.us) and do a search under corporate records for Under Construction, Inc.. I did. I found these guys are still active with corporate registration 1771918. I also found that their Agent of Service is: Business Filings Incorporated, 4400 Easton Commons Way, Suite 125, Columbus, Ohio, 43219. The officers are listed as Norman Bell and Jason Rasor of 300 South Walnut St., Baltimore, Ohio 43105.
Just because the company is still listed as "active" does not mean they are not in bankruptcy. They are not out of business, and if they did file for bankruptcy appropriately, you would have received paperwork to make a claim. Since you have not, they are hoping you do not follow up.
You can go to your local police or prosecutor and seek criminal charges. This is often times turned away as a "civil" matter.
Ohio does not have a state-wide contractor registration. Your city might. If it does, there are bonding requirements and you may have a claim on the bond.
But, in all likelihood, these guys are uninsured and unbonded, fly-by-nights. Your recourse is to file a lawsuit and name the owners personally for fraud and a violation of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act. The Act allows for triple damages and attorneys' fees. If they are found liable on fraud and the statutory violation in a personal capacity, you can collect against them personally - lien houses, accounts, etc.
I will be honest with you. Most law offices will not take these cases like this on a contingency. Most firms would take this on an hourly rate with your hope being to recover the extra damages and attorney fees in a judgment. So it may cost you money to "get that money back."
Sorry for your situation. I have a couple of suggestions. First, contact the local police department where you live and see if they will take a complaint. Second, see if the business is licensed as a contractor in your state. I am not from Ohio so I do not know, but you should see if roofers have to be licensed for that trade. If so, you may be able to file a complaint with that agency. You may also be able to see if there is a guarantee fund which reimburses consumers against losses from contractors. If there is really a bankruptcy you should be able to get information on it from the local bankruptcy court (call the clerk and see if the company has filed for bankruptcy). NOTE: This is not legal advice. Please consult a local attorney for legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created by this post.