A Florida contractor has apparently come up with a morbid way of getting out of reimbursing angry clients. Mark Anthony Perez, 52, is being accused of botching renovations on an 825-square-foot home in Seminole, Fla., and then faking his own death to avoid the disgruntled owners, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Glenn and Judith Holland hired Perez in March 2016 to put in a new kitchen, remodel their bathroom, and install a new water heater, among other renovations. They gave Perez a key in April and headed back to their home in Pennsylvania on the understanding that they would move in that December. Over the next eight months, however, Perez demanded more and more money even as work on the house slowed to a crawl. In the meantime, Judith Holland was diagnosed with cancer.
When the Hollands finally went to move in Dec. 14, they found the house unlivable. They had paid Perez $7,600 for a home they say was now in shambles. But when they texted Perez, they got this message back: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." As they rented a nearby place and paid another contractor $15,000 to fix the work, they soon discovered Perez was not licensed and hadn't gotten permits. They also heard rumors he was not dead. So Glenn Holland staked out Perez's house for weeks, and finally caught him coming out of his house in March. Local cops say it's not a criminal matter, so the Hollands are suing Perez in circuit court. "I never thought someone would go to that extreme to rip someone off," says Glenn Holland. (Read more contractor stories.)