October 27, 2020

Mississippi man charged with ripping off homeowner, taking $40,000 to repair house, but never doing work

A Mississippi man was arrested and charged Thursday with home repair fraud after prosecutors contend he bilked a homeowner out of $40,000 and never did any work.

Robert Bates, 62, of Madison, allegedly stole more than $40,000 from a victim who contracted with him for repairs to the victim’s home. Bates allegedly never started the work on the home and instead used the money for his own use. Hinds County Justice Court Judge Frank Sutton set Bates’ bond at $50,000.

If convicted, Bates faces up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Additional charges are expected. If you believe you are a victim of Bates’, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230. The AG’s office has guidelines for home repair contracting, including a model contract, available on its website to help consumers prevent becoming a victim to this type of fraud.

This case was investigated by Lee McDivitt and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Patrick Beasley, both of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division. The Madison Police Department provided assistance in the arrest.