EBRSO: Slidell contractor accused of scamming flood victim
BATON ROUGE - Deputies have arrested a contractor after he allegedly took thousands of dollars from a flood victim and failed to complete work on her home.
According to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, the victim hired 51-year-old Mark Tomerlin of Slidell and his company, All-Star Construction, to complete work on her flood-damaged home in January.
The victim told deputies she entered into a $38,365 contract with Tomerlin on Jan. 30 and gave him a $9,668 check as a deposit. At the time, Tomerlin told the victim that he did not have a license but would be acquiring one soon. Records show that Tomerlin did not acquire a license until one week after agreeing to work on the victim's home.
Over the next few months, Tomerlin would show up to work on the home two to three days a week for only a few hours at a time. The victim says she often asked why Tomerlin was working on the home so infrequently.
On one occasion, Tomerlin told the victim that he was low on funds and needed more money to continue. When asked how he spent the initial payment, he told the victim the money was used to pay for labor and very little was spent on materials.
In late March, the victim provided Tomerlin with another check for $3,500 to be used for materials. She says he arrived at the home to perform repairs one week later, the last time he would complete any repairs on the home.
The victim made several attempts to contact Tomerlin over the next couple of weeks, but received no response.
On April 16, she received a message from Tomerlin saying that he had sustained a back injury and would not be able to complete work on her home. He told the victim that he would try to arrange for someone to come and finish the repairs.
Five days later, she received a message from Tomerlin telling her that she should find someone else to complete the work on her home.
Tomerlin was arrested and charged with residential contractor fraud and engaging in contracting without authority.
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