Landscaper with shady history accused of ripping off Village of LaBelle couple for $8,000

Michael James McGowan

Michael James McGowan

A landscaper already well known to Seniors vs. Crime in The Villages, is facing felony charges of fraud and larceny after reportedly taking $8,000 from a Village of LaBelle couple for work never performed.

Michael James McGowan, 40, of Belleview, who runs MJM Landscape and Hardscape, on Nov. 17 entered into a contract with the couple for a $10,000 landscaping project at their home on Anchorage Road, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. They wrote him a $4,000 check that day and a second $4,000 check on Nov. 25. After receiving the second check, his crew then raked pine needles, pulled up several shrubs, and dumped a load of sand, spending about 45 minutes at the residence before leaving.

He cashed each check on the same day they were written at the Citizens First Bank branch at Pinellas Plaza.

The couple never saw him again.

They left multiple voicemails which were never returned.

In February 2017, they initiated the Theft by Abandonment process, complying with all statutory requirements. They sent certified notice to the address on the contract provided by McGowan, but the notice was returned unopened.

In an interview last week at the sheriff’s office, he admitted he had taken the couple’s money and not performed the work.

There have been 26 complaints filed against McGowan with Seniors vs. Crime.

He is free on $4,000 bond.

You can learn more about Seniors vs. Crime in The Villages at https://www.facebook.com/seniorsvscrimeregion4

“Like” their Facebook page and you will get information about things to be watchful of here in The Villages.

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Comments

  1. Bob Sparks says

    There is another scam now brewing in the Villages,
    You get called almost every day, with a recording they are giving away free security for your home, this time I stayed on the line, spoke to a rep. who I reported I was going to report them, he hung up fast,
    What makes this suspicious I try and track down the phone no., I call back it its not in service, received another call, this time a different phone no. with 352-693…. similar to mine, tomorrow will probably get one with different no. unable to track down, you call back, no one there.,
    Be wary

  2. floyd smith says

    It’s cheaper in the long run to use a major company…Not these guys who drive around in their pick up towing a trailer and knocking on doors…Same for these idiots that drive around with trees…

  3. Sandy Maerten Zellner Tortorete says

    For this type of work our policy is paid when job is done. If they need $$ for supplies, I go with them and pay for plants or parts at their supplier. Check references! Go look at completed jobs and speak face to face with the home owner. Use people referred by friends. And NEVER pay in advance for lawncare!!

  4. Jim Kinley says

    Very sad. All you need is a pickup and a shovel and you can call yourself a landscaper. So called landscapers and so called handymen are constantly ripping off seniors in The Villages. Perhaps we need some laws with teeth in them to stop these rip offs. I would bet that many go unreported.

  5. Deborah Zaranti says

    Do not confuse this person with Sabrina and Patrick McGowan Landscaping. Same last name, different company. Sabrina and Patrick have done many jobs for me and my neighbors and are very reputable and reliable.

  6. Bill Williams says

    80% up front, totally amazing isn’t it? I know these folks are beating themselves up about this foolish move, but one wonders, why do it in the first place? The law cannot protect those that will protect themselves. These rip off artists do this over and over again and just walk free when the bail bondsman opens the doors.

    • Claudette Catanese says

      Standard deposit is usually 10% of contract price. If you’re pressured for more, beware! It always helps to check out someone online BEFORE signing a contract.

  7. Dana Pennycamp says

    26 complaints
    DBA:

    M&m Home Solutions is a Florida Fictitious Name filed on September 2, 2014 . The company’s filing status is listed as Active and its File Number is G14000098173. The company’s principal address is 5279 Se 127th Place, Belleview, FL 34420.

    The company has 2 principals on record. The principals are Jason Ashley Mayhew from Belleview FL and Michael James Mcgowan from Belleview FL.

    Partner Jason has been summoned for fraud and Battery.

    Hope people pay attention and for the life of us who pays 80% up front for services!

    • Joseph Flynn says

      WOW Jason MayHew surfaces again. He did some work for us 7 or 8 years ago. Should say did not do the work. We and many others reported him to seniors vs Crimes, the Sheriffs dept, The Villages, The State. nothing done. We checked about him ahead of time. No record…..and yet when we called other counties after the fact, there he was with complaints. Whys do they ot share info? Now here he is again hooked up with someone else with his name on the papers filled with the state. This would be very easy to fix , require they be licensed. If they hold themselves out as landscapers the are supposed to be licensed but not enforced especially in this area, to many unwanted regulations and government intervention.

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