Scammed By Contractor, Homeowner Warns: ‘Don’t Pay Them Up Front’

By Andrea Flores

DENVER (CBS4) – Anjie Julseth-Crosby has more questions than answers after she says a contractor scammed her out of $63,000.

“Why us? Why did you choose us to do this to?” Julseth-Crosby asked.

She hired Jake Needell to work on an addition to her Morrison home back in June, and promised to be done by November.

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Jake Needell (credit: CBS)

“We checked out the Better Business Bureau, we checked out his licensing, we checked out his insurance,” Julseth-Crosby said. “He’s insured and bonded.”

Needell started the job but never finished.

“In February we gave him our last check, so when it’s all said and done $63,000, and then he disappeared,” Julseth-Crosby said.

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Anjie Julseth-Crosby (credit: CBS)

After trying to reach him for a month, he finally emailed her back. She later found out the email came from the Denver County Jail.

“I was sick,” said Julseth-Crosby.  “I just couldn’t believe it.”

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(credit: CBS)

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(credit: CBS)

The Denver District Attorney’s office told her, Needell’s been charged for a separate crime: embezzling $1.6 million from Wells Fargo.

CBS4 confirms Needell began serving a 90-day sentence on March 13, 2017 for that crime.

“Jake may have used the checks I wrote to Jake to pay restitution to Wells Fargo, which is illegal,” Julseth-Crosby said.

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(credit: CBS)

To make matters worse, Needell asked them to move out while he worked on the house. They’ve been forced to stay with family ever since.

While Anjie knows she may never see that money again, she has some advice for other homeowners.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, or how much you google the person, they can still be bad people. What you need to do is not pay them up front,” Julseth-Crosby said.

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

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