A man who took money for landscape services he never delivered has had a whopping default judgement filed against him, according to a report published on the azcentral.com website. The $195,761 judgement was obtained by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich against Brent Ford who is said to have failed to provide landscaping services to several individuals.
A consumer fraud lawsuit was filed this past June against Ford by the Arizona Attorney General's office after receiving complaints from homeowners who claimed to have paid for landscaping services but received little to no work in return, Brnovich's office said in a statement.
"Our office has aggressively pursued crooks and con artists who rip off hardworking Arizonans," Brnovich said in an email. "This case is a prime example that we will pursue you if you're hiding and seek justice on behalf of victims."
The court found that Ford collected around $90,000 from consumers after contracting to landscape their yards, Brnovich's office stated.
The office also stated that Ford was found to have intentionally misrepresented that the services would be performed. He also misled customers as to why the services were not performed, and then also failed to provide refunds.
Ford tried to evade the suit but was subsequently found and served at a hotel in Texas.
The attorney general also obtained a default judgement against Ford after he failed to properly respond to the lawsuit. "The judgement awards $89,599 in restitution to the consumers who paid Ford, $100,000 in civil penalties, and $6,000 in attorneys' fees and costs," a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office stated.
The judgement also prevents Ford from engaging in landscaping construction in Arizona.
The Attorney General's office also issued some advice that may help consumers avoid falling victim to someone with an intent to defraud. Before hiring a contractor, the office suggests finding reviews of his work, getting written proof and details about the cost, and to never pay the full cost upfront in cash. Buyers should also be concerned if the price is much lower than the average cost of such services.
"Beware of fake contractors offering big promises and small prices," Brnovich said. "Do your homework before hiring a contractor and be wary of arrangements that require a large upfront payment before the work is done."