September 30, 2005
St. Louis, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon has obtained a court order requiring the owner of a home remodeling firm who fraudulently took money from homeowners in St. Charles and St. Louis counties to pay more than $30,000 in restitution. St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham found that Andre F. "Andy" Powell, of Hazelwood, violated Missouri consumer protection laws by taking payment for home repairs and remodeling but did shoddy work or no work at all.
Nixon sued Powell and his business partner, Craig W. Sebring, of St. Peters, in August 2004 after receiving complaints from homeowners who paid for work that was not done at all or was done in an unacceptable manner, but who did not receive refunds. Powell and Sebring did business under the names A3 Design Group and Two Rivers Construction. Both men have been convicted on criminal charges of home repair fraud brought by prosecutors in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
The court order, signed on Sept. 28, permanently prohibits both Powell and Sebring from doing home repair or remodeling in Missouri. The restitution order covers only Powell; Sebring filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy prior to the filing of Nixon's lawsuit and had his debts discharged by the bankruptcy court. Powell also was ordered to pay $6,000 to the state for the costs of bringing the suit.
Powell and Sebring began soliciting clients in person and by telephone in early 2002, offering to provide bids or estimates for home improvement work. The defendants required consumers to enter into a contract and pay an initial deposit for the home improvement work. Nixon said homeowners often could not contact the defendants because they frequently changed phone numbers and business addresses.
Nixon urged Missouri consumers to follow these rules before hiring a contractor:
Consumers who believe they have been victims of home repair fraud may call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or visit his Web site.