More people come forward with complaints about contractor

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After our story aired about a woman accusing a contractor of stealing thousands of dollars from her, Western Mass News heard from more people claiming to be victims of Jose Dias.

One of those people said Jose Dias owes him tens of thousands of dollars, and Western Mass News obtained a copy of the receipts and police report associated with that claim. In January, Edite Fragoso Sheldon reached out to Western Mass News, and told us last summer she hired a contractor named Jose, or Joe, Dias to do two bathrooms and some flooring in her 83-year-old mother's home.

She said Dias vanished with $8,700, in which Western Mass News has confirmed through several receipts, and left the projects unfinished. "It's her home and she had a scum bucket like him who took money and didn't do the work," said Sheldon. On Monday, Western Mass News learned that Dias lost his license back in 2015, and seven complaints have been filed against him with the Attorney General's Office.

After our story aired, our inboxes were flooded with messages from people claiming they too fell victim to a Dias scam. Jim Falcone is the owner of TJ's Taylor Rental in Hadley. He told Western Mass New Dias rented a bobcat loader initially for four hours.

"I saw your story and I knew the name Joe Dias. He had rented a piece of equipment in December. Four hours later, no Joe," said Falcone.

Dias then extended his rental to a week and Falcone said he told him to bring in the payment. "He said, 'I'll come in tomorrow with the money'. Next day, no Joe. So I called him the following day and said this is getting serious. He said, I'll be in Tuesday with the machine and the money'. And that was the last time I heard from him," Falcone explained.

"I've left several messages on his voicemail, no returned call," Falcone added. Western Mass News spoke to Dias over the phone. He said he doesn't have the bobcat, his subcontractor does.

Dias would not provide Western Mass News with the name of this subcontractor, or any documentation to prove it. "We filed a police report with the Hadley Police Department," said Falcone. Falcone said if Dias were to return the equipment today, he would owe Falcone $11,000 for the long rental.

Or, the cost to replace the loader would be $36,000. Store receipts show Dias has only paid $175. "It's just a shame that people have to be like this. We live in a nice community. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. People like that ruin it for the honest person," said Falcone. Others who have reached out to Western Mass News said Dias owes them money for unfinished home improvement projects, another person said Dias owes money for a failed investment.

Stay with Western Mass News as we continue to follow this story.

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

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