A Utica woman hired a licensed contractor for more than $40,000, but says he never completed work on her fire damaged home.
Julia Shorter has lived in her home 33 years. Her search for a licensed contractor turned up Earnest Bozeman of Family Construction, LLC.
"This is what he did for me," said Shorter. "(He) took my money and ran now I don't have no where to live."
There are no shingles on the home. Rain can pour in. The inside was gutted and left that way with only electrical wires put in by Bozeman. The contractor promised total repair.
"I even text him," said Shorter. "He wouldn't answer me back. He wouldn't answer the phone or nothing."
The contract stated work would be completed in two months time from October to December of 2012. She showed us receipts where she gave him over $17,000 up front for demolition work.
"He wasn't going to give me no receipt, but I said, I told him he had to give me something." said Shorter.
Once money was in hand, Shorter tells us, repairs suddenly stopped, Bozeman disappeared.
Shorter believed Earnest Bozeman was legit, a man of his word.
"(He) took all my money," said Shorter. "He just used me and I never would have thought he would have done that."
We found Earnest Bozeman's license to do work in Mississippi was stripped in October by the State Board of Contractors. The contractor was fined the maximum, $5,000.
The Executive Director says he hasn't paid up. That action was taken after Mrs. Shorter filed a complaint.
Friday she filed charges against him. We've learned that Mr. Bozeman also lists an address on Bozeman Road in Terry.
Utica police are now investigating. Bozeman did not return calls.
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The job pays $4,500 a month and you get to take your best friend along too.