A 5 On Your Side investigation has led the Wake County District Attorney to launch a criminal investigation into a contractor.
Impacted homeowners say the contractor, Roger Simmons, has taken thousands of dollars – and not finished his projects.
Simmons previously served prison time in 2019 after serious issues with his work; including drywall that couldn’t pass inspection, and attic and basement projects left unfinished.
Part of his plea deal includes paying victimized families back $70,000.
However, he’s fallen behind on payments and had to face a judge in March for a probation violation. WRAL 5 on Your Side spoke with him in March when he faced the judge.
“That was in the past, not now,” Simmons explained when asked about problems with his work. “I’ve changed. I’m working, making everybody happy, but I’m running behind on jobs.”
Simmons says he’s taken on new jobs to help pay back past victims.
When asked if he should be taking on new jobs when he’s still behind on others — and if he’s being up front with new customers about his past — he said: “Yea, yes, yea, yes, they know, yes, yes, absolutely.”
But a few weeks later, two men told WRAL News otherwise.
“His name was Dale Junior, that’s what he said,” said Umesh Rao, who lives in Apex and says Simmons used the alias Dale Junior when he hired him to build a sun room in October of 2020.
Rao paid Simmons a $3,600 deposit.
“He never turned up,” Rao said.
Rao searched online and figured out Dale Junior was really Roger Simmons.
“I reached out and said ‘what the hell is this?’” And he said, ‘oh that’s history,’” Rao told WRAL News about his exchange with Simmons.
Another Apex neighbor who didn’t want to be identified has a similar story to Rao.
“He said like ‘My name is Dale Junior, my name is Dale Junior,’” the homeowner told WRAL News.
He hired Simmons in December. When work started in late January, Simmons kept demanding more money and by early February he’d paid Simmons $13,000.
“Once we paid him the amount of money, he stopped responding to my texts and calls and stopped doing work,” the homeowner told us.
“5 On Your Side pulled all the permits in Apex with Simmons’ alias Dale Junior. They total more than $250,000 dollars worth of work. All 15 of them list a business registered to Simmons ‘Deck Ace Handyman Services’ and the same phone number Simmons gave Keely Arthur outside of court.
In Cary, Deck Ace is listed on 16 permit applications since 2019. Homeowners have booted Simmons off of four of those projects and at least five others were never finished. Simmons has an agreement with the town not to start any new projects in Cary until his current jobs are complete.
We shared what we uncovered with Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.
“I’ve started looking into this after you contacted me regarding it. I have consulted with law enforcement, I do believe this is something given the past history and the number of victims involved, that this is something that needs to be criminally investigated. At the end of that investigation, we’ll make a determination as to whether to prosecute,” Freeman told 5 On Your Side.
Her office is now working with Cary and Apex Police Departments on this.
“I appreciate y’all bringing this to our attention,” Freeman told 5 On Your Side.
A criminal investigation is something Rao has wanted for a long time.
“Because of this we actually gave up on our dream to convert this because we don’t trust anybody now,” he told us.
He took Simmons to small claims court and won a ruling in his favor. He’s hoping to get his money back, but mostly just doesn’t want anyone else to suffer like his family has.
“Don’t fall for this guy,” Rao warned.
WRAL News reached out to Roger Simmons to give him a chance to explain, but he has not responded to calls or texts.
Unfortunately, this is another example of why it is so important to research a contractor before you hire them. Check to see if they have a license and check their references.