Family speaks out about Shoals man indicted on home repair fraud

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) – A Colbert County man has been indicted in Lauderdale and Colbert County for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from multiple families.

Investigators said Charles Farris Powell promised to build them a new swimming pool, but investigators say it’s the customers who ended up underwater.

“This was supposed to be a relaxing place, a gathering place. It was supposed to be fun,” said Cassandra Letson.

But all Letson and her family are left with is a big hole in their yard.

“What I see is a disaster. A $36,000 hole,” said Letson.

She said her family was supposed to have a pool by the end of August.

“The last time he was out here was in July and he has money that belongs to us and we have this hole. That’s it,” said Letson.

After months of radio silence, she filed a police report with the Colbert County Sheriff’s office. Her contract was with Charles Farris Powell of Powell Construction and Excavating in Tuscumbia

Last week, Powell was indicted in Colbert County on theft charges and in Lauderdale County on theft and fraud charges.

Investigators said he has promised pools to at least 4 families in the Shoals, costing them over 130-thousand dollars in total.

“It’s very sad that another human being can treat anybody this way,” said Letson.

Through our investigation, we uncovered that he isn’t a licensed contractor, he doesn’t have a licensed business through the Secretary of State, nor is his business listed in the Better Business Bureau.

Sgt. Andy Corbett who has been working the case in Lauderdale County says he’s never worked a case of this magnitude

“$46,666: That’s the largest amount that I’ve ever personally worked,” said Corbett.

He said his agency has been investigating the claims since September, built their case in three days, and waited for a grand jury hearing.

“There were mounds of text messages and emails where he was promising to order materials and things like that. As far as we know, those materials were never ordered. No invoices, no physical materials that anyone can lay their hands on,” said Corbett.

Now, that the wheels of justice is turning for other families, Letson hopes justice for her family is in the near future.

“We’re just waiting on them to pursue,” said Letson. “It used to make me sick to my stomach but now that there has been some proceedings and maybe we’re starting to get some justice. It’s a little easier, but it’s sickening.

Powell is currently out on bond. WAFF also reached out to Powell and left him a message to see if he wanted to respond to the multiple charges.

Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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