CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit Thursday against a Chicago-based home repair company for allegedly defrauding a senior suffering from Alzheimer's, a Maywood church and others out of more than $58,000.
Rafael Martinez, the operator of Abiel Construction Company Inc., solicited home repair services door-to-door and took down payments from consumers. Martinez allegedly failed to complete the services or performed shoddy work.
Madigan's office received complaints from five Cook County residents, reporting losses of more than $58,000 for shoddy or incomplete repairs.
In one alleged instance, Abiel workers broke a gas line while fixing a kitchen water pipe during a remodeling project. Martinez allegedly failed to return to the home for a week and denied the gas line was damaged to the Chicago family that owned the property, which included a senior suffering from Alzheimer's.
In another alleged instance, Martinez was hired to renovate the exterior and roof of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Maywood, Ill., but he failed to complete the project after taking a $3,000 down payment.
"The complaints my office has received about this home repair operator are outrageous," Madigan said in a statement.
"The company's owner clearly took advantage of his targets, demanding upfront payments only to do little work, much of which required the homeowners then to pay legitimate contractors to repair."
The lawsuit requests that the court permanently ban the defendants from working in the home repair business in Illinois, impose civil penalties for alleged violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, cancel all pending contracts with homeowners and obtain restitution for affected consumers.