INDIANAPOLIS — An unlicensed contractor owes an Indy couple, who does not want to be identified, more than $20,000 after a judge’s ruling. The worker cashed the couple’s check and never returned for the work.

To date, they have not received a penny from the company they hired which is Allender & Sons roofing. They paid the business to fix their roof in 2019.

This signed contract dated May 5, 2019, shows roughly $5,100 for the work and that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured.

“Everything I ever had from Richard Allender & Sons, I scanned,” the woman said. “I put in my email file. I have everything.”

The couple wrote a check to Allender on March 7, 2019, for the total amount owed.

“He never came back,” the homeowner said. “He cashed the check; he never did the work.”

After she says the local police and the state’s attorney general’s office turned her down for help, she found Indiana Legal Service’s LAVA Project or Legal Assistance for Victimized Adults.

“She was her own advocate,” Jane Handley, Staff Attorney with Indiana Legal Services, said. “She provided me with all of the paperwork and documentation. She was clear about dates.”

Indiana Legal Services helped the couple win their case on July 11, 2022, when the judge awarded them more than $20,000 to be paid by Allender & Sons.

The magistrate’s filing shows the company hadn’t been licensed since 2018, had liability insurance since February 2019 nor bonded since 2016.

“Had I gone to MyCase, I would have never picked him even the first time,” the homeowner said.

MyCase Indiana is an online free search tool for everyone to use. Before hiring a contractor, you can look up the business owner’s name.

Had she looked up Allender’s name, she would have found he owes money in at least one other case, and now he owes in at least three.

“That is an awesome research tool that anybody can go to,” the woman said.

Hoosiers can always check whether a contractor holds a business license by visiting the IN Biz website and searching the business name or the owner’s name. Handley reminds everyone to get more than one quote before signing a contract.

“Always, always get three to four estimates, always,” Handley said. “If they’re pressuring you to sign a contract right then and there, that is a huge red flag.”

We spoke with Allender on the phone prior to this story airing. He said various serious health reasons prevented him from completing the project on time, but he intended to complete the work eventually.

Still, the courts ruled in favor of the homeowners.