BRUNSWICK –– Police are investigating a local contractor suspected of scamming residents by promising fence installations, taking payments and not delivering on the work.
Matthew McMillen is the man Brunswick police named as the suspect in the thefts, claiming he works for multiple companies.
According to a release from Brunswick police, they allege McMillen has claimed to work for companies such as Lake Erie Fence LLC, Fence Solutions, Fence Company, Empire Fence, Landmark Fence, Budget Fence Company and King Fence.
In addition, McMillen has used the names first names of Dan and Jacob when performing fence installations, the release said.
“We have one victim in town that’s out $1,000,” Detective Chris Scafidi said Thursday.
“We put together the case and sent it to the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office for a referral for a felony theft charge.”
Scafidi said McMillen has been contacted over the phone about the case, but has not met with him in person.
Scafidi said he believes there could be more potential victims out there.
He said anyone who has made a payment to McMillen about a job should contact the department.
This is not the first time McMillen has been the subject of a fraud investigation.
Earlier this year, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a consumer protection lawsuit against McMillen and his wife, Stephanie Reed, for unfair and deceptive sales practices.
The January press release said the couple, who were doing business as Budget 1 Fence, is accused of taking consumers’ money but failing to provide promised services, failing to provide refunds, failing to notify consumers about their cancellation rights, and failing to obtain needed permits.
At that time, the attorney general’s office had received 15 complaints against Budget 1 Fence, the release said. McMillen also owed more than $40,000 in judgments from other court cases in Northeast Ohio for work done under many of the same named companies associated with the Brunswick investigation.
Scafidi said there are several ways residents can protect themselves against scams like these in the future.
“We always recommend, first of all, getting multiple quotes if you are going to have any kind of work done through a contractor,” he said. “Obtain multiple quotes and kind of do some detective work as far as doing some searching and things for the companies.”
In addition, any company that is registered with the state will have an LLC on file with the state, Scafidi said.
The Brunswick Building Department also keeps a record of contractors registered to work in the city.
If you or anyone you know has made any payments to the companies used by McMillen, contact Brunswick police at (330) 225-9111.