Carter Co. widow warns of handyman scam

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

WILSON, OK - When Lillie Inselman needed a new roof she took the $7,500 dollars she received from her insurance company and hired Basil Porter Sr.

After working on the roof for six weeks she said he just disappeared.

"While I went to pick up my great-grandkids he left and took all of his supplies," said Inselman.

Inselman said she gave Basil Porter Sr. $4,500 dollars as a downpayment. After 6 weeks of work, she said he asked for another $2,500 dollars to buy more supplies.

While she was hesitant Inselman gave him the money anyway.

"So I called my son and he said, 'Well you don't have much choice, just give it to him and let him get your roof fixed.'"

And that's when she claims Porter Sr. left the job. Inselman took Porter to small claims court where the judge ruled in her favor. Court records show he owes Inselman $7,500 dollars plus court costs, but she said she hasn't seen any money yet.

Tim Longest is an insurance agent in Ardmore, and says the best way to protect yourself from a situation like this is by checking a contractor's references.

"Most major companies have preferred vendors now if you choose to use them," said Longest. "The insurance company then has direct recourse to them."

But he said if you have a problem or you're unhappy with the work a contractor does report it to them.

"Sometimes the insurance agent or the adjuster can help intervene with the contractor," Longest said.

Inselman hopes her story can serve as a warning.

"I'm a widow and it would hurt anybody to lose 75 hundred dollars," she said. "But that's just a terrible thing to do to someone."

Court records:

http://www1.odcr.com/detail?court=010-&casekey=010-SC++1201207


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