New allegations, new action against St. Charles fence company accused of fraud

New allegations, new action against St. Charles fence company accused of fraud
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:43 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Missouri Attorney General’s office says they have received 52 complaints against Tri County Fence and Deck over the last year. Local police departments as well as the City of Wentzville are investigating and taking action against the locally owned company.

“We’re all struggling here, having someone take your money that you’ve earned, it hurts,” said Daniel Canavan, an O’Fallon resident.

He is one of the dozens who hired Tri County Fence and Deck to install a fence. He paid a deposit of more than $3,000 in 2021 and never got his fence.

Johnathan Schuchmann hired the company in April to install a fence. It never happened and after repeated texts and emails, he learned the company was under investigation.

According to business records, Tri County Fence and Deck is owned by Craig Sutton. News4 reached out multiple times and received no response. The office is locked and on the door is a summons from the St. Charles County Sheriff.

Craig Sutton and his son Garrett Sutton are both named on numerous small business claim lawsuits as victims attempt to get some of their money back.

“It’s just really frustrating especially when you’re as frugal as I am with money,” said Aaron Tighe who filed a suit against the company over the $6,000 he’s owned.

But Garrett Sutton has started a new company. According to business records, Garrett Sutton and Erin Adams formed G & E Fence and Outdoor Solutions on September 2, 2022.

News4 reached out to the email listed and got a response from Adams.

The company was in Craig Sutton’s name only. Garrett would sell the jobs and Craig would take care of the finances and bank accounts and the setting up of the jobs. The only part of this Garrett had to do with was setting up appointments, measuring yards for fencing and decks and collecting half of the money if in a check or cash form of payment. Garrett did not schedule jobs, order materials or collect back-end checks. Basically, he never had anything to do with the job again once it was sold. About 2 months ago he was getting wind of complaints from customers. He would ask Craig questions and he would say he would take care of it. Then the complaints got worse and worse and we kept questioning. Garrett and I have been in the works of creating our own company and had no choice but to jump head first to make ends meet. We do not run our company like Tri-County. We are trying to get this nightmare behind us but it is hard because people keep saying Garrett was the one doing this and he was not,” she wrote in the email.

She continues to say, “We have no idea about where the money went. If you can get that answer let me know.”

Previous customers are skeptical about the new business and want answers. While numerous police departments are investigating, no one has been charged with a crime.

On Monday the City of Wentzville will hold a public hearing to terminate Tri County Fence and Deck’s contractor license.

Anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud is urged to contact local law enforcement and the Attorney Generals’ office.