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Woman preparing to welcome son home from military says contractor ripped her off

Data pix.

STILESVILLE, Ind. -- A contractor faces charges of theft and home improvement fraud after he failed to complete a basement remodel for a woman preparing to welcome her home son from his military service.

Kristy Newgent hired contractor Keith Clampitt in January to get her basement ready for her son, who is being discharged from the Marines in May.

Newgent intially handed over a check for $1,200 that she thought would go towards the purchase of materials.

"He said, 'You know what, just because of the situation, I'll do the trim for $334 more,' so I wrote that check out, and then he said, 'Well, the flooring costs a little bit more' ... so I wrote another check out," Newgent said.

Newgent paid more than $1,700 total and after Clampitt did a couple hours' worth of work, she said he never came back or delivered any of the materials.

"He didn't come back after the third check," Newgent said.

Newgent ended up filing a police report and last week, Hendricks County prosecutors charged Clampitt with theft and home improvement fraud.

In court documents, a Hendricks County Sheriff's Office investigator said Clampitt agreed to bring receipts for materials and a refund of Newgent's money to a meeting, but later made excuses to cancel the meeting and did not provide either the receipts or money.

Messages between Newgent and Clampitt also show that he agreed to set up a meeting with an attorney to provide a refund, but the meeting never happened.

"I don’t believe I’ll ever see any money," Newgent said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers called Clampitt for comment about the case. He said he would provide contact information for his attorney, but then never did so.

Court records show that Clampitt pleaded guilty two years ago to home improvement fraud in Clinton County. A year before that, he pleaded guilty to theft in Putnam County.

Newgent's project remains at a standstill.

"$1,700 is a lot of money to me and my goal is to obviously get this done, but right now we’ve got to stop him from doing this ... to anyone else," Newgent said.

Newgent said Clampitt initially gave her the name Keith Allen and she wishes that she had done some more digging before she hired him.

"(It was) heartbreaking because I had to tell my son and he was so excited that I had (planned) this," Newgent said.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office provides tips for hiring a contractor at the link here. Before you hire someone, don't be afraid to ask for references and proof that a contractor is licensed, bonded and insured.

You can also look up past court cases by name or business at this link for Indiana's MyCase court records database.

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