- Baker, LA, police arrested Baton Rouge construction owner Tanweer Bhatti for residential contractor fraud and theft of assets of aged persons after several of Bhatti’s customers — all over the age of 60 and retired — complained to police that their residences were in "extremely poor conditions" after Bhatti worked on them, WAFB reported.
- The LA Attorney General’s office is also conducting an investigation into Bhatti for alleged mortgage fraud because several of Bhatti’s victims claim he used their personal information to take out loans.
- The Louisiana State Licensing Board of Contractors had previously found Bhatti, owner of Southern Siding, guilty of "performing contracts in an unworkable manner or has failed to complete contracts with no good cause, or has engaged in fraud or bad faith." He pleaded no contest to contracting without a license for services over $75,000.
This is yet another case of a contractor taking advantage of clients. Earlier this month, a Connecticut contractor was sentenced to jail for two years and a day for stealing more than $36,000 from an elderly couple under the guise of helping them complete a renovation on their home.
One of Bhatti’s victims told WAFB that Bhatti reminded him of a "stereotypical used car salesman," but he hired him anyway and said he lost thousands of dollars before hiring someone else to fix Bhatti’s shoddy work.
Most licensing boards, including Louisiana's board, caution consumers on contractor scams and provide checklists for what documents to ask for and what not to do when hiring a contractor.
Government agencies and courts have recently been cracking down on construction professionals who break the law. New York City, for example, created a Construction Fraud Task Force in August that aims to identify and prosecute corruption in the city's construction industry