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Contractor accused of taking money from elderly

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CLINTON, Mo. — A Henry County contractor faces criminal charges after a FOX4 Problem Solvers report prompted an investigation into unscrupulous business practices that often targeted the elderly.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has charged Chris Ridenour of Ridenour Custom Construction in Clinton with multiple felony counts for taking money from his customers but never doing the work.

Problem Solvers met several of his victims last year, including Nena Smith who paid him about $7,800 to fix her roof.

The only work Ridenour did was put a tarp over several gaping holes. Then he disappeared.

“My worry now is that with winter coming on, the whole thing is going to cave in, and I’m not going to have a place to live because they are going to condemn my house and I’ll be out on the street,” Smith said last year.

She was right. She’s having to leave her home and move to an apartment because of the collapsing roof.

Not far away in Warsaw, Missouri, lives another Ridenour victim – Ted Brownsberger. He gave Ridenour more than $40,000 to build a barn. After putting a few poles in the ground, Ridenour disappeared.

“We kept looking for him, and no one knew where he was,” Brownsberger said.

Brownsberger sued Ridenour and won, but he’s never seen a dime. He tried to pursue criminal charges, but he said the Benton County prosecutor refused to charge Ridenour.

After FOX4 Problem Solvers reported on Ridenour’s questionable business dealings, the Henry County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation.

This week, Missouri’s attorney general filed criminal charges against Ridenour for defrauding multiple customers in Henry and St. Charles counties.

When Problem Solvers called Ridenour to get his side, he hung up the phone.

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