3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) – Stephanie Esquivas says she’s lucky to have a finished backyard with artificial turf for her kids.
“My kids are in soccer, so they wanted somewhere to play,” said Esquivas.
But Esquivas says getting her yard finished has been a headache. Why? Well, she says the first person she hired was a guy named Ryan Gerber.
Esquivas says she gave Gerber a $4,600 cash deposit to remodel her backyard, including adding turf.
Instead, she claims he took off with the money after doing very little work.
“That’s the guy Ryan Gerber, this is the guy,” said Esquivas.
Esquivas says she had to pay another company to finish the job that she paid Gerber to do. And she’s not the only one unhappy with Gerber.
“This is the area Ryan hasn’t completed, this was supposed to be filled in with pavers round the pump,” said Shannon Thomas.
Thomas says she paid Gerber $3,000 four months ago to start her backyard project. But after doing some work, she says he walked off the job and never returned.
“Angry, very angry, taken advantage of,” said Thomas.
Nearly a half dozen people tell 3 On Your Side that Gerber took their money and eventually abandoned their jobs. One viewer even provided doorbell video of Gerber showing up, asking for more cash to finish a job.
3 On Your Side has discovered Gerber is a fake contractor who doesn’t have a license required by law from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
We also discovered he’s wanted by authorities for unpaid child support. How much? More than $138,000.
We showed up at Gerber’s West Valley home for some answers where he at first claimed a series of unlucky events have put him behind.
“But there seems to be a routine where you take a lot of money and never do the work,” said 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper.
“Well, that’s not necessarily true. I just haven’t had time to get to those jobs yet,” replied Gerber.
Gerber claims he has finished some jobs and denies he’s ripping off homeowners who pay him.
“You know I’m not out here running a scam,” said Gerber.
“But they say you are running a scam. Do you see why they would feel that way?” asked Harper.
“As a person, I do understand that,” said Gerber.
And exactly what does he have to say about operating without a contracting license?
“You’re not supposed to be doing any contracting work without a license,” said Harper.
“Uh, OK,” said Gerber.
As for these homeowners like Thomas, they say they can’t believe they hired Gerber and claim he’s put them through a lot of stress.
“He shouldn’t be doing this. If you’re going to take a job, you do that job and you complete it. And then you go get somebody else’s money, and you do their job, you don’t take the money from this job to pay for that job,” said Thomas.
It should be noted that the name of Gerber’s company is very similar to a company that is licensed in Arizona. That’s why it’s important to make sure you do your homework to make sure that you’re hiring a licensed contractor.