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Woman warns of alleged faulty handy man in Grand Rapids

Posted at 8:47 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 20:47:08-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A Grand Rapids woman called up the FOX 17 Problem Solvers after she said that a contractor tried to do her wrong.

The contractor, James Fouse has been featured by the Problem Solvers before, with people who have said that he never showed up after getting paid.

After reaching an agreement with Fouse in August, 2015, the woman claims she got a bad feeling in her stomach. A quick Google search turned up several reports on media outlets about him.

She stopped the check just in time, but the store where he cashed the canceled check says they are out $1,500 dollars.

The homeowner is now warning others to beware of contracting ads on Craigslist.

A couple weeks ago, Karen Boening went on Craigslist and came across an ad of a man claiming to be a jack-of-all-trades. It was Fouse. She said that she met up with him on August 26th, took a tour of a rental duplex in need of repair, but he didn't take any notes.

Boening said that she wrote him a check for half the agreed amount, totaling $1,500 dollars.

Hours later, she got a bad feeling about Fouse. She said that she waited hours for him to show up on the first day of work, but he never came. She then canceled the check, but he was still able to cash it as Family Pantry in Grand Rapids.

"I never got her money. The check as stopped and I gave the $1,500 dollars back to the people I cashed the check with," said Fouse.

"You gave them the money back at Family Pantry?" asked FOX 17.

"Of course. I go there every other day," said Fouse.

A quick call to the owner of Family Pantry suggested otherwise.

When asked if Fouse paid the $1,500 dollars back, the owner  of Family Pantry responded, "No he didn't... He's a liar." The owner said that he plans to take Fouse to court over the money.

After reading online about Fouse's past, Boening canceled the entire deal.

"I said, yes I've found out all, everything I wanted to know about you," said Boening.

Fouse tells FOX 17 that he's been in trouble in the past, but stands by his work.

"When you get it on Craigslist, you really got to search, and I wished I would have more," said Boening.

Boening also said that when Fouse showed up for their first meeting, he was wearing a company shirt, saying he didn't need his own license or insurance because it was covered through his employer.

She said that employer told her Fouse hasn't been employed by them in months.

It's important to note Fouse hasn't been charged with any kind of crime in this case, and everything is just an allegation against him.

Last year, we reached out to prosecutors about why it's difficult to get a conviction in these kinds of cases. You can read more about that here.