Action 9 investigates Craigslist contractor

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 investigated a Craigslist contractor who is advertising for lawn and fence jobs while he's serving probation for cheating other customers.

An Orange County family claims they just lost $1,500 to the man.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich is working to get the customer's money back while he tried to find out if the man is collecting big deposits again.

"He was supposed to put the fence all the way to this corner," said customer Chew Liang.

Liang said the contractor he found on Craigslist was supposed to build a wooden fence and replace his grass.

Liang paid $1,500 upfront for materials but claimed that was the last time he saw contractor Richard Barnes.

"He promised me next week, next week, next week," said Liang. "But it's all talk, nothing happened."

Liang called Action 9, which has investigated Barnes and his company, Affordable Landscaping, in the past.

Barnes served time for grand theft and unlicensed contracting after pleading no contest to taking money but not doing the work.

Action 9 found at least five consumers who sued Barnes, claiming they lost big deposits.

"I feel very, very, very cheated," said Liang.

According to state records, Barnes is still serving probation, but Ulrich found his ads on Craigslist.

When Action 9 called as a potential customer who wanted a fence, Barnes said he could do the job but needed a $1,700 deposit.

The next day Robert Ramsey showed up at the house and said he was there to have the customer sign a contract for Barnes' company.

"You pick up the money?" asked Ulrich.

"No," said Ramsey.

"You were here to pick up the money?" asked Ulrich.

"Only if she wanted to do the job," said Ramsey.

Ramsey said he didn't know about Barnes' criminal past and said he would stop working for him now.

"I did a foolish thing, you know. (Barnes is) the bad guy, you know," said Liang.

Barnes responded to Action 9 by phone, and said he's closing his company and that he's out of the contracting business for good. He also promised to refund the Liangs and others he owes money to.