Independence man arrested for home improvement fraud

Robert Baham (Source: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office)
Robert Baham (Source: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office)

HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Deputies arrested 37-year-old Robert Allen Baham of Independence on two outstanding warrants for home improvement fraud and contracting without a license.

A Hammond resident called the Sheriff's Office saying she entered into a contract with Baham in July of 2013 with an expected completion date of October 2013. The homeowner says she gave Baham $22,000 to begin the project.

The homeowner told deputies starting in August, she began to see Baham less and less, until finally not at all.

The project is still not completed.

During the investigation, deputies learned Baham already had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for the same crime.

On June 23, 2014, deputies located Baham in the Independence area and placed him in custody.

Homeowners are urged to be cautious when hiring contractors. "Consumers should ask contractors for references and seek referrals from friends and neighbors," said Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards. "Additionally, consider hiring local companies and ask to see contractors' state-issued registration cards."

Sheriff Edwards offers the following tips when hiring a contractor:

Do Your Research

• Check with friends, neighbors, or co-workers who've used a contractor

• If you can, take a look at the work done and ask about their experience.

• Look at sites you trust that post ratings and reviews

• Do people seem to have similar experiences, good or bad? You also can check out a contractor's online reputation by searching for the company's name with words like "scam," "rip-off," or "complaint."

• Find out how long they've been in business

• Look for an established company whose record and reputation you can check out.

• Check for qualifications, like licensing

• Check with your local building department or consumer protection agency to find out about licensing requirements in your area.

Before You Hire a Contractor

• Get Estimates

• Once you've narrowed your options, get written estimates from several firms. Don't automatically choose the lowest bidder. Ask for an explanation to see if there's a reason for the difference in price.

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