BARTON COUNTY, Mo. — For a southwest Missouri woman, it’s a worst-case scenario. On a fixed income, her goal of downsizing has derailed in what she says is a contractor who made big promises but didn’t deliver.
“And this is the kitchen and this is the rest of the house,” said Linda Strange, Golden City.
Strange is planning for the future, trying to make the most of her limited resources. She was excited to hire a contractor who promised to start work on an addition to her tiny home. But those promises were a far cry from what happened, according to her daughter Andrea Stephenson.
“He told us it would take a couple of weeks. It would be done by the time her auction was done and we had to pick up the house. The foundation would be ready. After seven weeks he still had not even broken ground on the foundation. When he did finally break ground he dug it out backward,” said Stephenson.
Strange paid more than $6,000 for the work the contractor was supposed to do.
“She’s having to pay for all this stuff again,” said Stephenson. “And this money that she had to build her new home was all that she had and he knew this and he got her a loan and got her to write him two more checks and with lies and manipulation.”
Strange says she was defrauded by Denis and Brenda Masters who operate “D & B Construction” and “The Rustic Barn” in Lamar.
Lamar Police are investigating her case, and it’s not alone, according to Lamar Police Chief Joe Moore.
“Now we have several complaints that were investigated this time. At this time, there have been some charges the prosecutor has filed on but we still are investigating a few complaints as well,” said Chief Moore.
The pair are facing charges, including six charges of felony stealing for Denis Masters and two charges of felony stealing for Brenda Masters.
Chief Moore says the potential money lost by victims continues to climb.
“I think it’ll be 10s of 1000s of dollars,” he said.
Back in Golden City, Stephenson adds she’s reported their case to social services.
“For senior exploitation,” she said. “Because his lies and manipulation literally drove my mom to a breakdown and it almost destroyed her. It’s not just the financial consequences. He is messing with people’s lives.”