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18 Workers Say Felon Defrauded Workers on Government-Subsidized Hurricane Program

HOUSTON (CN) - A felon working for a government-subsidized program to put tarps on roofs damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 defrauded workers of thousands of dollars, the workers say in Harris County Court. They say Dennis Alexander did it though he and his company, Alexander Environmental Services, had defrauded at least four people in home improvement contracts in 2007, and that case was "open and notorious," after being reported in New Orleans newspapers.

The 18 plaintiffs say Alexander was convicted in 2007 of swindling four New Orleans homeowners who had paid him from $5,000 to $46,500 apiece. But they say co-defendants Thomco Enterprises, American Plastics and Salton Cos. hired him anyway to find workers for the government's Blue Tarp Program, enabling Alexander to cheat those workers too. "Alexander, a convicted felon, continued his fraudulent conduct by hiring individuals and then not paying them for the work that they did and other promised compensation," the complaint states.

Alexander promised to employ them for 6 months, pay $12 to $20 per hour, and cover their transportation, relocation, housing and cell phone bills, the plaintiffs say.

"Unfortunately, the workers only received 0-2 weeks of pay and ultimately were defrauded of thousands in compensation," according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs seek punitive damages. They are represented by Reginald McKamie of Houston.

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