25 Investigates: Contractor accused of skipping town after winning the lottery

25 investigates has been trying to track down a local contractor and so are some of his customers.

They tell investigative reporter Ted Daniel he was paid for work he didn’t complete or failed to finish correctly.

Jeffrey Berube of Tiverton, RI owns a pool and patio company called Picture Perfect. Susana Medeiros said she hired Berube to redo her front walkway, front steps and install new pavers around her driveway. She said he ripped up her front yard in April and never returned. She has no front stairs, and her driveway is littered with rocks and pavers.

“It drives us crazy. I mean, it’s every day. And we have to look at it,” Medeiros said.

Medeiros showed 25 Investigates numerous messages she’s sent to Berube, politely asking him to finish the job. In early June, he responded with a promise to come to complete the work.

That was the same week she says Berube won the lottery. He was the sixth $1 million prize winner in the Massachusetts State Lottery’s “Billion Dollar Extravaganza” instant ticket game. According to the lottery, Berube took a lump sum payment of $650,000.

Berube posted a picture of himself holding a million-dollar check on his public Facebook page and pictures of a camper, a boat, and a truck he purchased.

25 Investigates spoke with two others who complained about work Berube did at their homes.

“This guy just won the lottery, and my pool is falling apart,” said Joshua Hetzler, a Fall River Firefighter.

Hetzler said he paid Berube $56,000 to redo his front walkway and completely rehab his concrete swimming pool.

Hetzler showed us multiple pieces of broken tile and coping from the pool that he says were not sealed correctly.

“I deserve to have it done right and he can’t do it right. So, give me the money back so I can pay to have someone do it right,” he said.

25 Investigates called Berube multiple times but his voicemail box was full. He did not return text messages. Our team searched for him multiple times at homes he’s associated with in Tiverton, RI, and Westport, MA.

Berube’s sister told us he was aware customers were looking for him. She said he was traveling out of state, but she didn’t know where or when he would return.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t want to know because I can’t lie if I don’t know,” Berube’s sister explained.

Immediately after we told Berube’s sister that we had spoken with Susana Medeiros, Medeiros received a message from him.

He promised to refund some of her money and return materials she paid for out of pocket.

Medeiros said she is still waiting for that to happen.

“You would think, oh, hey, I won, let me settle up with everybody and then I can really be free,” she said.

Complaints about licensed and unlicensed contractors can be submitted to The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

According to the OCAB website, filing a complaint against an unregistered contractor will not result in a monetary award for the homeowner, but it may result in disciplinary action.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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