AG issues cease and desist order against couple for violations of consumer fraud lawsAttorney General Wayne Stenehjem today issued a cease and desist order against George Donald Nelson III and Karla Ann Nelson, doing business as Baron Buildings, LLC, and AG Pro Buildings, LLC, for violations of the consumer fraud laws and for providing contractor services without a North Dakota contractor’s license.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem today issued a cease and desist order against George Donald Nelson III and Karla Ann Nelson, doing business as Baron Buildings, LLC, and AG Pro Buildings, LLC, for violations of the consumer fraud laws and for providing contractor services without a North Dakota contractor’s license.
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Consumer Protection Division initiated criminal and consumer fraud investigations of George and Karla Nelson after complaints indicated the Nelsons had engaged in criminal and fraudulent activity throughout the state. According to Stenehjem, the Nelsons took money from consumers in at least nine counties.
“The Nelsons not only operated without a contractor’s license, it appears they also defrauded many North Dakota consumers,” Stenehjem said. Stenehjem noted that in the majority of transactions, the Nelsons took thousands of dollars in advance deposits from consumers and performed little or no work. “The Nelsons’ blatant disregard for the contractor licensing laws are criminal violations and their pattern of fraudulent conduct, including misrepresentations that the work would be completed for payments received, has harmed many North Dakota consumers,” said Stenehjem.
Information in the cease and desist order said there were cases or complaints in McLean, Benson and Steel counties and there may be additional consumers in Stutsman, Bowman and Montrail counties who paid for pole barns or steel buildings that weren’t erected or finished.
According to Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection Division, it may be difficult to get refunds from unlicensed contractors, and consumers need to be vigilant in ensuring that contractors are licensed. “If a contractor is not licensed it often is the hallmark of a disreputable contractor and may be the first sign of serious problems with that contractor,” Grossman said. “Consumers should never do business with an unlicensed contractor.” Grossman reminds consumers to:
Get two or three written bids for the project. Never accept a verbal estimate.
Make sure the potential contractor is properly licensed, bonded and insured. Contractors engaging in contracts exceeding $2,000 must be licensed by the North Dakota Secretary of State, at http://www.nd.gov/sos/.
Be cautious if the contractor insists on full payment or a large down payment before any work begins.
North Dakota consumers who paid money to the Nelsons, Baron Buildings, LLC, or AG Pro Buildings, LLC, can submit a complaint form from the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.nd.gov, or by contacting the Consumer Protection Division at 701-328-3404.