Alabama Eyes Tornado Insurance Vultures

     (CN) – A roof-repair company swindled Alabama homeowners for insurance money after tornadoes and other natural disasters, the state says in court.
     Alabama sued David Sorjonen, Shawn Lay and Cornerstone Renovations under the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
     “An ever-present and unfortunate repercussion of natural disasters is that scam artists often arrive as rapidly as relief workers,” Alabama says. “In this case, they were even quicker. On the heels of their involvement in an identical scheme in Georgia, defendants, operating as Cornerstone Renovations, arrived at peoples’ doors with a contract that signed away their insurance money in exchange for the promise that Cornerstone would repair or replace their severely damaged roof. Some victims wisely transferred only a portion of their insurance money (still several thousand dollars); others, many of whom were elderly, lost as much as $10,705 when they never saw defendants again. Initially, consumers’ calls were answered with stall tactics and excuses; ultimately, victims encountered a full voicemail box and an eviction notice in front of an empty storefront.”
     The Attorney General’s Office has allegedly received complaints from 36 individuals to date for refunds between $1,500 and $10,705.
     “Sorjonen himself provided the Attorney General with a list of 68 persons who did not receive roofs but from whom he admits he took deposits,” the complaint states. “The attorney general’s list of 36 complainants includes several not on Sorjonen’s list so the total number of affected persons is unknown. Added to that are the individuals who did receive roofs, but who got substandard service that either did not correct the problem or created new problems. Finally, in at least one case, a homeowner’s insurance company canceled his policy because his roof had not been replaced; this company did so despite having previously paid out to Cornerstone for roof repairs that have not begun. While perhaps not typical, other Cornerstone customers are at risk of falling into the same predicament. Further, the complainants, in the absence of relief, risk having to pay more of their own money to repair a roof their insurance company has already paid Cornerstone to fix.”
     Alabama seeks an injunction and full restitution to all customers who lost money in Conerstone’s scheme.
     Assistant Attorney General Kyle Beckman filed the suit.

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