Investigators say a local home improvement company is running a fraud scheme in which the company owners take down payments for work never completed.
Investigators in Knox and Hancock counties in Illinois said Jeremy Dale Lawson and Amanda Mae Lawson operate a business called Sturdy Buildings. The Better Business Bureau lists the company as a company that builds garages.
“The suspects meet with prospective customers, give bids and sign a contract. The contracts require the customer to put 20% down up front. The work is never started or completed, and the suspects keep the 20% down payment,” said a statement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
The Better Business Bureau lowered Sturdy Building’s rating to their worst-possible “F” rating. The BBB listed 17 complaints filed against the business, 9 serious complaints filed against the business and failure to respond to 15 complaints against the business among reasons for the rating.
The BBB also lists insufficient information about the business, and failure of the business to verify information about the company, as factors contributing to the “F” rating.
“Consumer complaints allege that after accepting a bid, they are asked to pay a 20% down payment. Once the company receives the payment, the consumers experience difficulty or are unable to reach the company and have problems with timely completion of their project and workmanship,” said a BBB alert about Sturdy Buildings.
The BBB says Sturdy Buildings also goes by “Strong Structures.” BBB records show the company was based out of Moulton, Iowa.
Investigators want anyone who has done business with Jeremy Lawson, Amanda Lawson or Sturdy Buildings to contact the Knox County Sheriff’s Department at (309) 345-3887 or the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at (217) 357-2115.