Heartland Consumer Fraud Crackdown

Heartland Consumer Fraud Crackdown
By: Arnold Wyrick
(Herrin, IL)--A Heartland business owner is facing charges of defrauding several families. The Illinois Attorney General's Office filed the charges against John Shelby of Carterville and owner of Shelby Construction Company. 
The suit alleges that Shelby performed business under assumed business names that weren't registered in Jackson and Williamson Counties, and that Shelby failed to commence or complete contracted services as promised.
One family that filed a complaint with the Attorney General's Office was Marge and Dewey Sons of Herrin. " We talked with him several times right here at our kitchen table. And he seemed like a nice guy, and an honest person," says Marge Sons.
But the Sons thoughts quickly changed just weeks after signing a contract with John Shelby. "Well right from the start things didn't work out. He didn't come to work when he said he would," Sons said. But things soured even further between the two as the project of building on a family room, and deck to the Sons home continued. "He wasn't paying his workers and they would come to us saying they needed paid, or they couldn't complete our place,"
Marge said as she shuffled through a stack of legal papers they've amassed during their legal battle against Shelby. Then the straw that broke the camels back for the Sons, came in a lien from the lumber yard Shelby had purchased the building materials from.
"I told Associated Lumber, in Carbondale that I didn't feel like that was our bill. But we went ahead and paid to get the lien off of our home. It was so stressful to have that lien on our home," said Sons. But under Illinois' Mechanics Lien Act the lumber company could legally come after the Sons for the unpaid bill left behind by Shelby.
The Sons ended up hiring another contractor to come in and finish the job, and a lawyer to file a lawsuit against John Shelby for the more then $20,000.00 dollars they paid him. "We just couldn't believe there were people like that out there. We checked with the people on a list he gave us to call about his prior work, and they all said he was okay. We never dreamed we'd go through this when we started. It's been very stressful," Marge said.
Now Shelby is facing a suit from the Illinois Attorney General's office seeking $50,000.00 dollars reimbursement and more then $400,000.00 dollars in fines for several violations.