Local contractor accused of taking more than $200K from victims

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An 83-year-old woman is out nearly $9,000 after handing cash over to a contractor who disappeared without finishing the job.

Western Mass News revealed that this was not the first time the particular contractor has been accused of this kind of offense. Jose Dias was contracted to fix two bathrooms and some flooring in an elderly woman’s home following some water damage back in June.

Months later, the projects are incomplete and she’s out thousands of dollars.

Western Mass News first heard back from the contractor for more than a month after our first story aired. Edite Fragoso Sheldon hired Jose Dias based on a recommendation.

Sheldon’s mother lives in the downstairs apartment and her daughter lives upstairs.

Over a series of cash payments, Edite has given Dias $8,700.

Western Mass News obtained copies of all of her receipts, and by mid-August, Dias started to do work in the house.

Dias declined an on-camera interview, but over the phone shared his side of the story.

He told Western Mass News he was in over his head going into the fall last year.

Dias said unforeseen financial circumstances, and an unrelated ongoing dispute prevented him from finishing the project.

He said the project was taking too long, it was unintentional, and has agreed to try to pay Sheldon back in full, eventually. “I spoke to him and he said he was going to turn some of the money. Now let’s see if he does," said Sheldon. Sheldon said she remains skeptical because until last week, she hadn’t heard from Dias since mid-December when he told her he was on his way to the bank to see what he could do. “I have an 83-year-old woman who’s out $8,700, who lives on a fixed income, with now no extra money for repairs," Sheldon noted. Eight months after Sheldon hired Dias, the vanity is not attached to the wall, electrical outlets are exposed, and her shower walls are not sealed properly. Sheldon has filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.

Western Mass News obtained a copy of the complaint and learned that this is the seventh complaint they’ve gotten about Jose Dias, who also operates under the name Joe.,

His business, which ranges from names including ‘Care Home Improvement’ to ‘Home Runners.’

By phone, Dias told Western Mass News he has never seen any other complaints about his taking money and disappearing. Dias added that he doesn’t deny there haven’t been other complaints over the years when he worked for other companies, but he said he is not aware of anyone else that is out money from him.

According to four complaints on the Better Business Bureau, where he has a D minus rating, this is not the first time this has happened.

Western Mass News has reached out to the Attorney General’s Office for an update.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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