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Seven people file contractor scam complaints to Attorney General’s office; charges dropped

UPDATE: Charges against Ezekiel Young were dropped in 2018.

Seven people have come forward to the Attorney General's office saying they were scammed from unfinished contractor work.

Ezekiel Young allegedly scammed people after not finishing work he promised he would. Young owns the business "Gateway Construction," in Cuba Missouri.

ABC 17 News spoke with one of the victims, Kay Ragan who met Young back in 2016.

"He was doing some asphalt jobs around Vienna Missouri and he did business where I worked, so I trusted him," Ragan said.

Ragan said Young requested the money up front, before finishing the work because he would give her a good deal. Ragan said Young never returned to even start on the work,

"The first day he was scheduled to show up, he didn't," Ragan said. "It continued many times, many phone conversations we had he would always have an excuse as to why he wouldn't be able to be there. He would set another date but wouldn't come."

ABC 17 News Sunshine requested the seven complaints from the Attorney General's office that detail similar stories. Unfinished work spanned from Florissant, High Ridge, Rolla, Vienna, and St. Louis. The crime also continued into other states like Mississippi and Texas where he has been accused of "stealing, felony stealing and exploitation of elderly or disabled persons," according to court documents.

Sean Spence with Better Business Bureau told ABC 17 News there can be some lessons learned from Ragan's experience.

"A major mistake people often make is they pay all or a large part of the money upfront," he said. "The person can just now disappear or do a bad job."

Spence recommends people get three references of people that have used the service, check the BBB, get other estimates and to never pay up front. He also told ABC 17 News it's common to see construction type scams, especially during winter months because "people want to get work done fast."

ABC 17 News called Young's office number that is listed on business cards, and invoices but the number on there didn't belong to him. A woman answered the phone and told ABC 17 News "everybody keeps calling here looking for him, including sheriff's. This is not his number, and this has been happening for several years now."

ABC 17 News also called his cellphone, but that went to voicemail. Residents that live in the area of Young's business say they haven't seen Young in about a week.

Right now, it's unclear if Young will face criminal charges regarding Ragan's police report.

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