Better Call Behnken: Zephyrhills contractor disappears after collecting $5,200 from woman

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (WFLA) — Shirley Babich wants a storage shed and a front porch. Instead, she’s stuck with belongings piled high inside and outside the new home she shares with her disabled husband. 

“We downsized to here, and it’s been nothing but a nightmare,” Babich said.

She doesn’t have one sign of a shed or a front porch, even though she paid a contractor a total of $5,200 in early February.

She blames contractor, Randy Daniels, of Zephyrhills’ Ace Aluminum & Construction LLC.

“I feel used and abused,” Babich said.

She paid Daniels $2,600 in cash and wrote a check to him for $2,600. Her contract is marked with the company’s name and logo, but she said Daniels insisted on collecting the money personally.

Then, he disappeared.

She turned to 8 On Your Side and we found Daniels – in jail.

He was arrested two weeks ago on felony fraud charges. His business partner, Richard Shaffer, said Daniels collected money from other customers and failed to do their jobs as well. The fraud charges came after check forgery that involved the business.

Shaffer said he’s known Daniels most of his life and brought him in as a business partner three years ago. Recently, something went wrong, he said.

Daniels’ actions, Shaffer said, is destroying his business, and he vows to make things right. His business has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.

“I just paid a person back today that he took money from, and they wrote the check out to him, too,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer said he did not know Babich paid any money to Daniels, however, he said he was aware of her job and already has a permit. He promised to finish the shop for Babich, even though he won’t get paid for the job.

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