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Homeowner says contractor forged her signature to get money

DENHAM SPRINGS - A family hired a contractor who knocked on their door a few weeks after the August flood. They thought the construction would be finished by now, but it's far from it.

Joycelin Ebbers says her contractor did something without her permission and it involves forging her signature.

"I thought that we were becoming friends, you know, I really did," Ebbers said.

But a friend wouldn't leave you with a busted electrical panel, no bathrooms, nor floor or kitchen cabinets.

"It was such a betrayal," she said. "We got about 50-percent through the project and paid them about 90 percent of the work."

After doing some research, Ebbers says she hired Bernard Construction and Restoration in Denham Springs. They agreed to a $73,000 contract, but a few months into the work she received a work order for significantly more than that. It raised a red flag.

"That got me to questioning... What's going on here?" 

What she found shocked her. She says in February, her contractor had faxed a fraudulent work order to her mortgage company without her knowledge in the amount of about $11,000. The signature on the work order was not hers and her name wasn't spelled correctly.

Ebbers says items listed on the submitted work order were not performed by Bernard Construction and Restoration, but were in fact completed by the homeowner. They include drying out the home, treating it with antimicrobial, installing insulation and painting the walls.

"They thought they were going to get more money out of me through my insurance company and that I would never find out," Ebbers said. "I feel like they got paid for work that they didn't complete or completed incorrectly."

Not all is lost. In June, Ebbers hired a lawyer who sent a certified mail termination letter and request for refund. Bernard Construction and Restoration sent back an invoice, which was not accepted. Ultimately, the company and Ebbers settled on amount of work completed and received a refund for what was not in the amount of about $18,000.

Now Ebbers is warning others.

"You've got to pay attention to what's going on in your home," she said.

The Denham Springs Police Department says it's investigating multiple reports involving Bernard Construction and Restoration.

A call to Bernard Construction and Restoration was not returned.

There is also a company called Bernard Construction and Restoration Services, LLC in Baton Rouge and it is not affiliated with the Bernard Construction and Restoration in Denham Springs.

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