AVONDALE, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK) — Sean and Samantha Goyal want to remodel their backyard.
“So, the pavers were supposed to come out here and there was supposed to be a fire pit here,” Sean told 3 On Your Side as he was showing us around his backyard.
But this project they say was pretty pricey when they were initially getting bids.
“Two of the highest that we saw was at $19,000 and the other was for $21,000,” Sean said.
But, the couple says their search for a contractor ended when they came across a guy named Alejandro Montoya, who also goes by Alex Montoya.
He runs a business called Lil’ Al’s Landscapes and when he wrote up a low-ball estimate for $8,500, it really got the Goyals’ attention.
“That’s what made it look even more appealing to go with Montoya. It was the great price,” Sean said.
Back in early August, the Goyals say Montoya asked for and received a check for more than $4,500 to start the project. But, after getting all that money, Montoya didn’t do much at all. It appears that he brought in a couple hundred dollars’ worth of material like a few cinder blocks and a few bags of mortar and that’s it.
Then, Montoya asked for more money. Even though only a small amount of material had been dropped off, the Goyals say they reluctantly handed over another $2,000 check.
After that, they say Montoya found every excuse in the book to not show up again.
“One time he said it was too hot and he was tired,” Samantha said.
And the excuses kept on coming until the Avondale couple says Montoya disappeared altogether.
“We just cannot get through to him. We tried everything,” Sean told us.
3 On Your Side got involved and we went to the Peoria home where Montoya lives with his dad.
No one answered the door, but after leaving a business card, Montoya called 3 On Your Side.
During our conversation, he explained how he had spent the Goyals’ money on what he calls “personal hardships.”
“Wait, they gave you almost $7,000 and you spent it on personal hardships?” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked.
“Yes,” Montoya replied.
“But, why would you do that Alex?” Harper asked. “You know you’re not supposed to do that.”
“Yeah, I understand and I didn’t know what else to do. I understand it was a mistake and I should not have done that,” he said.
Montoya goes on to say he intends on paying back the Goyals, and claims he’s trying to come up with the money.
As for the Goyals, they say the ordeal has changed them forever.
“Now, we’re just going to take further steps to protect ourselves. We’ll check to see if they’re licensed, make sure we’re the ones buying materials and make sure we don’t put up large payments upfront,” Sean said.
Criminal complaints have been filed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors along with the Avondale Police Department. In the meantime, 3 On Your Side has learned there are more victims out there from whom Montoya took money and did little or no work.
Montoya tells me he intends on repaying the Goyals with $300 weekly payments. In fact, he made his first $300 payment last week.
3 On Your Side will stay on top of this issue and let you know exactly what happens.
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