Yania Mendez wanted to repair her badly damaged fence in July.
She says she reached out to Luis Garcia of Ultra Pavers Group.
When they met, Yania paid Luis $2,900 for the job.
“He took the money, he drank Cuban coffee and he said, ‘Tomorrow my guys are here,” Yania said.
But that never happened.
Yania says she constantly called Luis and she would get the same response.
“Every single day and he says, ‘I’m on my way.’ Every day he gives me excuses,” she said.
When the NBC6 Responds team called Luis on July 29th, which was 19 days after the contract was signed, he promised he’d start working the next day. But, that didn’t happen either. And, he stopped taking our calls.
It didn’t take us long to find other unhappy customers.
In 2015, architect Roney Mateu got a judgement against another one of Luis’ businesses called LG Fences.
“We gave him a big deposit and he never showed up. He never produced anything,” Roney explained.
In court records, Roney said Luis took over $10,000 for work he never did. Though Roney got a default judgement, he says justice wasn’t served.
“We got a judgment, and nothing has ever been paid,” Roney said.
That’s also the case for three others who got judgments against LG Fences.
“This man should be in jail,” Roney told us.
But that has already happened. Turns out, Luis lost his contractor license in 1999 and since then has been found guilty and gone to jail for working without a license in Miami-Dade County.
He’s also been found guilty of grand theft and for writing a bad check, but according to code enforcement officers in Miami-Dade and Broward, he is still taking customers.
“We have had several complaints where basically he has opened up companies, soliciting himself as a licensed contractor, where in fact, he’s not. Currently we have two active cases,” explained Chaveli Moreno with Miami-Dade Code Enforcement.
Yania filed a complaint with Broward’s Building Code Services Division. That’s when she learned Luis wasn’t licensed to do the work he charged her for.
Delroy Aiken, the Supervisor for Broward Contract Enforcement, deals with cases like this all the time.
“Unlicensed contractors once they take money to do work that they are not licensed for, it’s grand theft,” Aiken said.
Knowing that, Yania filed a report with the Plantation Police Department. Detectives are investigating the case.
In the meantime, the Broward County Code Services Division cited Luis for working without a license and a hearing was held, but he didn’t show up.
That hearing was at the end of September and although Luis told code enforcement that he would return her money, she still hadn’t gotten it. November rolled around and when we ran the story in Spanish on Telemundo 51, Yania called to tell us Luis sent her a cashier’s check for the $2,900 he owned her.