Local News

Raleigh Police Arrest Contractor Accused Of Taking Couple's Money

Posted March 27, 2002 9:25 a.m. EST

— A contractor who is charged with taking about $10,000 from a Wake County couple without doing the construction work has been caught.

George and Juanita Harris lost their home to fire and allegedly lost their money to contractor Tony Anderson. Anderson had nothing to say for himself after police awakened him Tuesday with an arrest warrant.

"I guess you're always surprised when the police knocked at your door at 7 o'clock in the morning," said Capt. D.S. Overman of the Raleigh Police Department. "There are some very honorable people in that type of business and there are also the unscrupulous that take advantage of people."

Contractor Mike Miller and others stepped in with donated time and materials to build the Harrises a new house anyway. But, just weeks after the ribbon-cutting for the house, Juanita lost her fight with cancer.

"I feel like something needs to be done. I think they, at least, need to get part of their money back," Miller said.

Anderson's arrest comes just one day after Juanita's memorial service.

"I know how much I loved her, but I didn't know that many people loved her until yesterday," said George Harris. "She was well thought of."

George Harris says he wants Anderson to pay his debts for taking thousands of dollars without doing the work, but the kindness of contractors who stepped in to rebuild the home still overrides his anger over what happened. He said he wants to move on for Juanita's sake.

"I have some hard feelings toward him, but you have to learn how to forgive people. I believe that is what she would have done," George said.

Anderson has been charged with obtaining property under false pretenses, which is a felony. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison, plus fines and repayment of the money. It will be up to the district attorney's office to work out those details.

Anderson's first court appearance will likely come Tuesday.