ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two brothers, Robert Humphrey and Shell Humphrey Jr., face contractor fraud charges after being arrested Wednesday, October 18 in Ascension Parish. They have since bonded out, but the path of devastation they have allegedly left in their wake has several homeowners in both Ascension and East Baton Rouge Parishes at their breaking point.
"I was lied to straight to my face, you know," said Tami Hankins. "I was totally lied to and I was very angry."
Hankins lives in Baton Rouge and says she came across the pair last fall. She says she thought she could trust them because they came recommended by a family member. Hankins claims she paid them roughly $25,000 for work, including a $5,000 advance. After getting paid, she says they disappeared, taking her money and leaving her home in shambles.
"We have an interesting kitchen setup because I need a sink and I can't wash dishes in the tub anymore," she added.
Hankins admits they started off great with most of her bedrooms now finished, but over time, she says crews showed up less and less, and eventually the work suffered. Now her home is left unfinished roughly 14 months after the historic 2016 flood.
"By Memorial Day, it was zero hours, zero workers, and no phone calls," she added. "They just wouldn't answer."
Hankins is not the only alleged victim. Louis Blanchard, 19, lives in Ascension Parish and says he got taken advantage of by the brothers. His version of what happened is slightly different than Hankins', but he says the outcome was exactly the same.
"This year, he worked about maybe 12 or 15 days," said Blanchard. "He would just show up a few days for a few hours and go. He'd satisfy you just a few minutes to get by."
The accused men are tied to Humphrey Restoration, a Shreveport-based company that Blanchard tells 9News they own with their father, but he believes the only business they have been in recently is taking peoples' money.
Matt Hickey says he too had problems with Humphrey Restoration. "All he did was tell you he was coming next week or he was going to get this done." said Hickey. "He'd also say he had a new contractor or a new carpenter and he just never stopped with the stories."
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) website appears to show the accreditation for the business has been revoked. Among the reasons listed on the website for the revocation were a string of complaints, some of which are left unresolved. The BBB website grades Humphrey Restoration an "F."
WAFB's Scottie Hunter reached out to the business Tuesday afternoon and initially left a message, asking for a response to the allegations. Once he called the company back, a woman answered and informed him she was the secretary.
She tells 9News the Humphrey brothers are now working in Florida.