An Ellisville business owner has been arrested and charged with fraud after being accused of cheating at least three people out of almost $75,000 in home-repair jobs.
Arthur Cooksey, 44, was arrested Aug. 24 after a client filed an affidavit in Jasper County Justice Court in the First Judicial District for home-repair fraud, and he was charged. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department received a complaint of home-repair fraud that occurred in the Rose Hill Community, Sheriff Randy Johnson said.
“The complainant reported that Cooksey Construction had been contracted for home repair,” Johnson said. “The complainant reported that Cooksey requested and received a large amount of money up front to purchase material for the job.”
Cooksey would not return to finish the job after receiving the funds, and the work that was finished was not quality work, according to the complaint. He was arrested and bonded out the next day.
Cooksey posted to Facebook on Aug. 26 after he was arrested the first time that he was arrested because of an unsatisfied customer.
“And one of my competitors used that to his advantage by slandering my business on social media,” Cooksey wrote. “As most of you know there’s 2 sides to every story. Had it have been as bad as he made me look, I wouldn’t be able to make this post.”
The customer who was unsatisfied with the company’s work had nothing to do with money, they just didn’t like the work that my guys performed, Cooksey wrote.
“So I decided to clear the air with all my haters,” he continued.
Then the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department got another complaint making the same accusations against Cooksey.
Cooksey was arrested and charged for violation of parole by Jones County Sheriff’s Department then transported to Jasper County Sheriff’s Department after another affidavit was filed Aug. 27 for home-repair fraud. Reportedly, Cooksey asked for a large amount of money to purchase materials for the job, and after receiving the money, he would not answer the phone or return calls. The three complaints suggest home-repair fraud in the amounts of $46,000, $12,000 and $16,000. According to one complainant, Cooksey reportedly required the clients to pay in cash up front for building materials.
Johnson said the sheriff’s office has received several more complaints about Cooksey Construction, but no other affidavits have been filed in court.
Jenny Hayes Barnes Shoemake posted on Facebook that she hired Cooksey Construction to put in a new subfloor and new flooring in a small den and kitchen.
“I paid him $12,000,” she wrote. “He put down the cheapest flooring. I paid him $5,900 on May 12 for materials. We moved our furniture out three times — they didn’t show.”
They came on Aug. 2, she wrote, and she moved out and trusted them to do good work.
“Aug. 6 he wanted $500 more for the materials and $6,000 for labor I paid him,” Shoemake wrote.
Shoemake wrote that when she saw the repairs, she asked Cooksey Construction to return to fix it and he refused.
He has scammed a lot of people and said he does disaster relief, which is scary said Jenny Shoemake.
“They did not tear out all the black molded plywood just put flooring over it,” she wrote. “The floor sinks in.”
The main thing is it has to be torn out again because there is black mold in there, Shoemake said.
“He liked to do nonprofit benefits,” Shoemake said. “He scammed us out of $12,000. I have some messages where people have gotten scammed by him before. He would not even give us a material list and would not bring us the list or what it costs.”
“I have another contractor coming out to do an estimate,” Shoemake said. “We did not know he was on parole when he did this and he is not licensed or bonded in Mississippi.”
In another post on Facebook, Sherry Hayes wrote that Cooksey took a lot of money for materials up front because he wanted to lock in lumber prices at Lowe’s “by us paying him upfront.”
“He never purchased any materials, and he has kept our money because he said he has a contract between us? Everything he has said about putting the materials on hold was a lie,” Hayes wrote. “Arthur Cooksey is in jail and his business Cooksey’s Construction needs to be shut down!”
Cooksey was convicted of two counts of grand larceny and burglary in January 2014 and was sentenced to two years on house arrest, with eight years suspended, according to a Leader-Call report. But the judge ordered him to serve that eight years behind bars after Jones County deputies found meth, a crack pipe and pills in his vehicle during a traffic stop in 2016. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.
Jones County Sheriff’s Department bought a gram of meth from Cooksey, so he was charged with sale of a controlled substance, according to court records. He was also in violation of his release agreement because he had failed to pay the almost $16,000 he owed to his victims and on court fees.
Any other persons who believe they have been defraud by Cooksey are asked to contact their local law enforcement agencies.