Bryan Cohen Jul. 5, 2013, 6:32pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed lawsuits Wednesday against three Metro East contractors who allegedly took more than $89,000 in upfront payments from homeowners without completing contracted repair work.

The Belleville-based Arnold Waters Construction Co. Inc., the Collinsville-based Briddell Remodeling Inc. and the Madison County-based Midwest Complete Remodeling Inc. allegedly failed to obtain official licenses for roofing work, failed to provide consumers with written contracts or work orders, failed to provide homeowners with required consumer rights brochures and failed to maintain the required insurance.

"These con men convinced unsuspecting homeowners to pay significant sums upfront only to disappear once they pocketed the money after doing little to no work," Madigan said. "Cases like this demonstrate how critical it is to do your homework before hiring a contractor so you can be assured you're working with a legitimate business."

Arnold Walters Construction allegedly accepted down payments from senior citizens to repair hail damage without ever starting the project. Briddell Remodeling Inc. and Ronald Briddell, the company's owner, allegedly accepted large down payments but failed to complete the work. In at least one instance, Briddell Remodeling also allegedly failed to pay subcontractors, resulting in a lien on the consumer's home. Midwest Complete Remodeling, and John Wesselman, the company's owner, allegedly took down payments for repair projects without ever initiating the work.

The lawsuits seek a permanent ban for the defendants from working in the home repair trade in the state, the cancellation of all outstanding contracts with homeowners and the awarding of restitution to consumers. The lawsuits also request that the court assess civil penalties of $50,000 with a potential added award of $10,000 for each senior victim.

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