Omaha hardware store scam artist sentenced to prison

A man who posed as a contractor inside an Omaha Home Depot store was sentenced to two years in prison for scamming customers out of thousands of dollars.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:36 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A chronic illness makes walking slow and painful for Manuel Gallegos, but he says the sentencing of a conman is a strong move toward giving him justice.

“He got some of what’s coming to him, so at least the courts held him accountable,” Gallegos said.

Jose Juarez-Banos received two years in prison after taking about $5,000 to install a pain-soothing jet tub and other bathroom items.

“He never did it,” Gallegos said. “He never did any of the work.”

Gallegos hired someone else to do the job, so he paid twice.

“They stated that there’s no restriction, so he pretty much walks away with thousands of dollars and does a couple years of time,” Gallegos said.

The victim says Juarez-Banos approached him at an Omaha Home Depot last year.

6 News talked to other victims who say Juarez-Banos would hover around flooring departments and approach them claiming to be a subcontractor working with the store and could offer discounts on materials.

Home Depot told 6 News Juarez-Banos was no longer an authorized subcontractor when he solicited victims like Angela McWilliams and her mother shopping at a store.

“To see all the instances [in which] he did this is crazy,” McWilliams said.

McWilliams paid Juarez-Banos almost $5,000 for flooring that was never delivered, and she filed a police report.

“It’s nice that they took this seriously,” McWilliams said. “It’s satisfying that he’s been charged and is going to jail for the crime he committed.”

Though sentenced to two years in prison, Juarez-Banos may not have hit the ceiling on prison time. Sarpy County has an outstanding warrant against him for allegedly taking money from a Bellevue homeowner without doing a job; a story similar to that of Gallegos.

“I’m glad I got [6 News] involved,” Gallegos said. “That helped out a lot. I think more people got connected that way and it spread the word of what [Juarez-Banos] was up to.”

Juarez-Banos will serve about 19 months in prison after getting credit for his time served in jail awaiting trial. He pleaded no contest to the charges pressed against him.