Miami Man Accused In Remodeling Fraud Scam

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami man has been charged with theft and fraud after he allegedly bilked a North Miami Beach man out of more than $50,000.

In December 2011, Augustin Senecharles contacted Stephens Construction of Miami about doing some remodeling work in his home on NE 171st Street.

Senecharles, 71, met with Donica Stephens, the owner of the company, who claimed to be a licensed contractor, to work out the details. The two agreed on the price of $38,650 for the work and Senecharles gave Stephens a deposit of $6,000.

Stephens began the work as promised, but a short time later reportedly told Senecharles the remodeling would cost more than expected.

Police say Senecharles then made several other payments to Stephens totaling a combined $46,980.

In June 2012, Stephen stopped the remodeling work stopped.

Unable to reach him numerous times by phone, Senecharles file a formal complaint with the Miami Dade County Office of Regulatory and Economic Resources in May 2013.

Investigators discovered that Stephens Construction was not a licensed company and Donica Stephens was not a licensed contractor either in Miami Dade County or the State of Florida. The address on the printed contract also turned out to be Stevens’ home address.

Stephens was charged with Grand Theft with a victim 65 years of age or old, scheme to defraud and operating as an unlicensed contractor.

North Miami Beach police believe there may have been other people who were taken advantange of by Stephens. They urge them to get in touch with the county’s Office of Regulatory and Economic Resources or their local police department.

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