Disabled man scammed out of bathroom remodel
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Medication isn’t enough to ease Manuel Gallegos’s pain.
“My joints, my muscles, and like I said, the migraines, so I’m sorry, I have to put them on because the light from the camera is going to trigger the migraines.”
Hoping a jet tub will help Manuel out, he and his wife, Tammy, checked Home Depot last November, where a contractor approached the couple.
“He stated he contracts for Home Depot,” Manuel said.
Home Depot tells 6 News that Jose Juarez was a subcontractor, but no longer an authorized service provider for Home Depot when he approached the Gallegos -- not knowing that Manuel wrote Juarez a $4,700 check to buy a jet tub and materials to remodel the bathroom.
“And he never sent receipts...excuse after excuse,” Manuel said.
One reason why the contractor was able to keep the couple in the dark is that Manuel has to do everything in the dark. He keeps the shades drawn throughout the house because of his severe migraines.
Another customer, Evaristo Perez, told a similar story to a Douglas County sheriff’s investigator. The deputy’s affidavit led to a theft by deception charge against Jose Juarez-Banos, the same contractor.
“At first, my dad gave him a check upfront to get the job going,” said Chris Perez, Evaristo’s son. “Then he said he spilled coffee on it, and so my dad wrote him another check, unknowingly not retrieving the other check, and then he cashed both the checks and wanted to get a third one out of it. Then my dad got a little suspicious.”
Back at Manuel’s home, that therapeutic tub he paid for and hasn’t been installed is needed.
His wife is sore at the contractor.
“[It] angers me that someone would take advantage of someone who needed help, that you’ve asked to help you and they take advantage of you.”
Banos promised a refund and texted 6 News that he’s sent a check -- but the Gallegos have yet to receive it.
“I’m hoping that he’ll be an honest person and refund our money,” Manuel said.
Manuel filed a sheriff’s report, because he refuses to take the potential money loss lying down.
All authorized contractors for Home Depot stores go through background checks. The company tells 6 News Jose Juarez-Banos dropped off the list of authorized contractors before the allegations of fraud surfaced. He declined an interview and no reply from his attorney.
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