Ky. woman accused of scamming people out of thousands of dollars
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A Kentucky woman is accused of scamming people out of thousands of dollars.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says 41-year-old Maritza Caban, of Lancaster, has been indicted by a grand jury on a theft by unlawful taking over $10,000 but less than $1,000,000 charge.
According to the sheriff’s office, Caban is accused of scheduling home repairs/remodeling for potential clients and never performing the job or starting the jobs and not completing them.
In one instance, the sheriff’s office said Caban took $120,000 from a Franklin County resident for a home renovation and never finished the work.
Looking back on a construction nightmare, Wendy Enneking of Georgetown thinks back to the moment she met Caban.
“I mean the presentation, the handshake, the eye contact, the interaction, the input on design, and the vocabulary, the business card. Everything seemed very on the up and up,” Enneking said.
Enneking said it wasn’t anything that made her suspect something was off.
“It sounded like she would be able to complete the project. She was very enthusiastic. She always showed up when I found a space and needed her to look at and give me an estimate. She was very prompt, and very polite, and very professional,” Enneking said.
Enneking hired Caban to get to work.
“She asked for all the money up front to buy the materials,” Enneking said.
It was around this point in the project when red flags started flying for Enneking.
“You reach out with texting and calling, and there was always something going on. It was maybe she was delayed at another project, or maybe something was going on personally for her. So there were these delays. You’re trying to be empathetic, and understand that life happens,” Enneking said.
Caban is accused of ripping off several clients for thousands of dollars. An indictment said from between December 2021 to May, Caban scammed in Franklin County.
Court records show Caban is a repeat offender, from a 2016 case in Jessamine County and a 2017 case in Jefferson.
For Enneking, it was a tough lesson and she hopes her story can teach others.
“You get references, and you do not give any money up front unless it’s just a deposit,” Enneking said.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said these are warning signs that a contractor could be trying to scam you:
- They’re trying to rush you. Be suspicious of any contractor who tries to rush you, especially on non-emergency or temporary repairs. If possible, shop around for a contractor by getting recommendations from friends and neighbors. Be wary of anyone knocking on your door offering unsolicited repairs to your home.
- They’re requiring payment in advance. Never pay for work up front. Always inspect the work and make sure you’re satisfied before you pay. Most contractors will require a reasonable down payment on work, but don’t pay anything until you have a written contract.
- They state they are recommended by FEMA. Don’t believe a contractor who says they are supported by the government. FEMA does not endorse individual contractors or loan companies; call FEMA toll-free at 800.621.FEMA for more information.
- Get at least three written estimates for the work and compare bids. Check credentials with the Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office to see if the firm has any outstanding complaints.
- Always have a written, detailed contract that clearly states everything the contractor will do, including prices for labor and materials, clean-up procedures, and estimated start and finish dates. Never sign a contract with blank spaces, which a crooked contractor can alter after they have gotten your signature.
- Avoid paying with cash; use a check or credit card instead. This creates a record of your payments to the contractor.
Enneking said she’s working with Scott County investigators on building her case.
Caban is in the Franklin County Regional Jail. Anyone who believes they are a victim to her alleged scam should call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (502) 875-8740.
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