PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An area contractor has been charged with fraud after allegedly billing clients more than $100,000 for renovations and never completing the work. Authorities say John Pratt, of Oreland, took advantage of nearly two dozen people and there could potentially be more victims.
The contractor is accused of ripping off homeowners in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, as well as Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey. Authorities say he stopped at nothing to deceive people, even taking money from Inglesia Linaje Escogido church in Chalfont, promising to do repair work but never did.
Pastor William Mejias paid Pratt $6,000 to install a new air conditioning system, but when it came time to do the work, Pratt only provided excuses why he couldn’t start the project.
“He says he got a bad car, got electrocuted,” said Mejias.
The pastor isn’t alone. The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office says 21 victims paid Pratt to do renovations he never completed, totaling more than $120,000.
CBS3 went to Pratt’s home to get his side of the story, but no one answered.
“He shouldn’t do this to people,” said Mejias.
Authorities say if you’re looking for a contractor, make sure they have multiple references, a signed contract and never pay the full amount until all the work is completed.