‘Never saw him again:’ Houston-area contractor wanted in four counties is accused of swindling homeowners

51-year-old Eusebio Maldonado is accused of theft in two states

PASADENA, Texas – A Houston-area contractor is accused of ripping off home repair customers in four different counties, some of whom were victims of natural disasters, court records reveal.

Eusebio Maldonado, 51, has open warrants in Texas and Louisiana, according to charging documents.

Maldonado’s alleged scheme dates back to 2019 and continued at least until late last year.

“I needed my roof replaced because of the tornadoes and the hail damage that was done,” said Maria Iris Yanez, a single mother who lives in Pasadena.

After last year’s tornado, she hired Maldonado for repairs. He had been soliciting her parents for work at their home, she said, and when she needed it, her dad referred her to Maldonado.

According to court records, she paid him $3,500 for permits, materials, and work that still hasn’t been done. The total project was expected to cost around $8,500, she said.

“It’s really sickening that he can actually take advantage of people this way,” Yanez said.

Maldonado gave her many excuses about why the work wasn’t getting done, she said.

“He kept on saying that it was raining and that he couldn’t find any guys to to work, and then something about someone passed away in his family, then he said he was in Mexico,” she said.

In 2019, Maldonado is accused of stealing $5,000 from a Galveston County victim, records show. Then in 2020, he allegedly targeted hurricane victims in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. And in 2021, he allegedly pocketed $13,000 from a Chambers County couple.

“The only time we saw him here was whenever he picked up the money. We never saw him again,” said Melissa Salas, who hired Maldonado for a patio project at her Chambers County home.

Maldonado came recommended by her husband’s friend, she said. They had seen pictures of his past work, too, but after getting cash up front, he stopped showing up.

“He never delivered,” she said. “We trusted that man with our money, with our savings, and he just walked out like nothing,” Salas said.

He also gave them many excuses and never had the materials delivered for the project that would have ended up costing $23,000, she said. Their trust was shattered and they eventually hired someone else to do the job.

“He deserves to get some kind of punishment,” she said. “It’s not fair that people trust him and he just steals their money and walks away."

Pasadena Police told KPRC 2 Maldonado is probably still operating in the Houston area and there might be additional victims. Police are asking for any tips of information that may help in the case.

Yanez still hasn’t been able to make the much-needed repairs at her home.

"Next time, I will really do my research,” Yanez said. “I don’t know how he can sleep.”

BBB tips to protect yourself

According to the Better Business Bureau, it should be a red flag when any contractor asks for more than a third of the total project cost up front to buy materials.

“A legitimate contractor will have funds to purchase the material needed until the job is done, then you go ahead and pay the rest,” said Carolina Petriciolet with the Better Business Bureau.

  • Don’t rush into hiring someone
  • Do get a contract and quote that lays out labor and material cost
  • Get references
  • Make sure you have an accurate phone number and address for the contractor
  • Be cautious of paying with an app like Zelle or Venmo, because it may be difficult to track them down later if they stop showing up
  • Be cautious of someone going door-to-door to solicit business

Petriciolet said any legitimate contractor will accept payment in various forms, like credit card, debit card, or check.

If you do get scammed by a contractor, you’re encouraged to file a complaint with the BBB and contact local law enforcement. If you pay with a credit card, Petriciolet said you can also contact your bank to try to stop the payment.

About the Author

Bryce Newberry joined KPRC 2 in July 2022. He loves the thrill of breaking news and digging deep on a story that gets people talking.

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