SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) -- A military couple stationed overseas built trust in a contractor back home in Bellevue, Nebraska thanks to reviews on a nationally known website. Monday that contractor faced a judge on a charge of theft by deception.
Jason Michael Murtaugh told a Sarpy County court judge that he's a legitimate contractor. But he’s charged with theft by deception after Chris and Jennifer Allie wired him $17,000 last summer for a basement remodel on their Bellevue rental home.
Jennifer Allie said, “We were under the assumption the work was going to start the next day and once again he just came up with one excuse after another.”
Bellevue Permits and Inspections reports no permit pulled by Murtaugh on that project and he’s not a licensed contractor in the city of Bellevue.
The prosecutor read off Murtaughs criminal history that included a felony drug conviction and several misdemeanors for failure to appear on traffic cases.
Attorney Michael Polk represents five customers who sued and settled with Home Advisor where Murtaugh once had positive reviews.
Michael Polk said, “People are over confident when they read the reviews and they read what’s said on these sites without checking the contractor further.”
Home advisor told Six On Your Side, "As soon as we learned of this pro’s criminal acts we contacted authorities and are pursing additional actions. This pro was immediately terminated from our site."
But not before the Allies paid Murtaugh $17,000 based on Home Advisors advice.
Jason Murtaugh told the judge he’s a licensed contractor in Omaha and he’s working on three remodeling projects. After posting ten percent of $50,000 bond-Jason Michael Murtaugh sent us a text response.
“This is a civil matter and remains so. I removed myself for financial reasons from Home Advisors as result of you contacting them and causing them to remove me.”