SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man who owns a paving company, after they say he ripped off customers.
Thomas Borchert, 45, is charged with Scheme to Defraud and two counts of Grand Theft. He is the owner of Five Star Brick Pavers in Sarasota.
Sheriff's Investigators say, Borchert accepted nearly $15,000 from clients and never performed any work.
According to victims, as early as 2015, Borchert agreed to renovate driveways and walkways, but then after they paid him, Borchert never bought any materials, or started any work and refused to refund homeowners.
Borchert is in custody on a $12,500 bond.
ABC7 talked with the wife of a man who was hired to put down concrete for a project. But to this day he still hasn't been paid.
Victoria Bramel said that her husband Dale was hired last November by Thomas Borchert to lay down some concrete. But nearly a year later and he still hasn't been paid.
"Things are tight, you know everybody's living from paycheck to paycheck. He was there to help this guy and the guy just ripped him off," said Bramel.
Bramel said her husband should have been paid $2,200.
"He had to order the concrete, he had to do the work himself, order a guy to pump it , and of course he had to pay for everything. And when it came time to get his money Tom just put him off," Bramel said.
But she said after trying for so long to get his money, he just gave up.
"We could not afford to sue him,we checked into a lawyer and we didn't have the money to pay the lawyer and all of the fees that went along with it so Dale just ended up dropping it," said Bramel.
And Bramel's story sounds like many others in the community. According to the Better Business Bureau, there has been eighteen complaints made against Five Star Brick Pavers in the past three years. All of which relate to paying the company money and never receiving their services.
Bramel wants to remind people to be careful when hiring a contractor, "You don't pay anybody in advance for work they haven't completed."
She also said to look into people's background and talk to their references.
Borchert shares the same last name as another owner of a different paving company that has recently been the subject of an ABC7 investigation.
Though Thomas Borchert and Arthur Borchert share the same last name, it is unclear if these cases are related or if there's a connection between the owners of these two paving companies.