WSAZ Investigates | Renovation Rip-Off
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A man who prosecutors call a financial predator is being told he cannot continue doing contractual, electrical or plumbing work in the state of West Virginia -- for now.
Robert Eugene Jones is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from people and families across the Mountain State during the last decade and providing substandard contracting, electrical and plumbing work, or in some cases, not finishing the job.
The Division of Labor says Jones has never held a contractor license and has been served at least nine cease and desist orders in several counties across the state.
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On Wednesday, Jones appeared virtually at a hearing in Putnam County for a civil case filed by the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office.
The state is seeking a temporary restraining order against Jones to prevent him or anyone else from doing business on his behalf while court cases are ongoing.
As of Tuesday evening, Jones is being represented by attorney Shawn Bayliss in this matter.
Bayliss told Judge Phillip Stowers that his client does not contest the temporary restraining order.
The state was prepared for several witnesses to testify at the hearing, including a representative with the Division of Labor and the professional engineers board.
Also present was a woman who they say was provided a forged document by Jones to get her to hire him for work he wasn’t qualified to do.
The judge said testimony wouldn’t be necessary, but the state did ask for relief on other matters they had requested, including the website Jones has been using to solicit business to be taken down.
He had most recently been doing work under “A Personal Services” where his website advertises work being conducted by a “licensed and insured professional."
The state argues that since the website is still live and active on the internet, it is advertising services he cannot legally provide.
“I’ve clearly already said he shouldn’t be in business and I should’ve addressed that website at the first hearing,” said Judge Stowers.
He asked Bayliss if his client had any objections to taking the site down.
“No, your honor,” said Shawn Bayliss. “We have no problem engaging in discovery and I would like to note for the court that my client in regard to the website moderator who hosts that website, he has not paid that individual in more than six months. So that website should already be down but we will contact them again directly and instruct them to pull down the website.”
Several individuals listed in both criminal and civil complaints say that they found Jones and his company through a Google search.
Jones and his attorney will have 30 days to provide any and all documents, financial records and statements or other information regarding assets that the state is seeking.
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