JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - Attorney General Chris Koster announced Thursday the filing of a criminal case against a man suspected of defrauding Jefferson County consumers.
Koster has joined with Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Forrest Wegge in prosecuting Donald J. Harralston for multiple felony counts of financial exploitation of the elderly, stealing, and unlawful merchandising practices.
Koster alleges that Harralston made false promises to do roofing and remodeling work for consumers. Harralston demanded significant upfront payment then, in most cases, performed no work and provided no materials.
The total loss is more than $20,000 from seven consumers.
"When our investigation reveals that a company has ripped off customers, this office will act to punish the scammer and protect Missourians," Koster said.
Koster offered the following tips to consumers to prevent becoming a victim of a contractor scam:
- check the references of contractors before signing a contract or providing any partial payment;
- check with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau for complaints on contractors;
- never pay in full before the work is completed; and
- document the scope of work to be provided and the complete cost and time necessary to complete the job.
Any consumers who believe that they have been a victim of Harralston can file a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General's Office by contacting the Consumer Protection Division Complaint Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or by filing a complaint online.