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NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Consumer Alert

Police Raid Offices Of Home Repair Company

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By Jennifer Kraus
Consumer Investigator

A home repair company that was first the focus of a NewsChannel 5 investigation is now the focus of a police investigation.

Thursday afternoon, Metro police detectives raided the offices of American National Insurance Construction or ANIC in Antioch.

Metro Police detectives hauled out boxes filled with files as well as a computer from the offices of ANIC.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed how customers paid ANIC for home repairs like roof, but months later are still waiting for the work to be done.

Homeowner Marian Sherman told NewsChannel5 Investigates the company has done "no work."

"Won't give me my money back," she said.

Michelle Bennett runs the company.

Two weeks ago, we asked her, "Why are you taking people's money and not doing the work on their homes?"

"I'm not doing that, wouldn't do that. I'm not that kind of person," she replied.

But according to the search warrant executed at the ANIC offices, police are investigating Bennett and allegations of theft.

"That's exactly what it is," homeowner Andy Bowers told NewsChannel5 Investigates.

After our initial story, we heard from even more unhappy ANIC customers, like Bowers, who says he paid Bennett and her company nearly $4,000 to fix his roof and ANIC has done nothing.

Bowers said, "If that's not illegal, what is? Somebody takes your money and doesn't do the job, how can that not be illegal?"

Police said Bennett is no longer in Nashville, that she's gone back to Illinois where we found she's facing various charges including theft, identity theft, and misuse of a credit card.

She's also been ordered to pay more than $125,000 in restitution and fines in Illinois after being sued by that state's Attorney General for using unfair and deceptive practices to take money from consumers and never starting or completing their home repair work.

Two weeks ago, Bennett told NewsChannel5 Investigates, "I like who I am. I'm a very good person."

She has insisted that neither she nor her company has done anything wrong.

Yet ironically, just as detectives were hauling out ANIC's files, the Better Business Bureau released its latest list of "Misleading Businesses that Consumers Can Do Without." And topping the list was ANIC.

The BBB gives the company an "F" and refers to Bennett as someone who "has been chasing storms across the country and leaving a path of destruction of her own."

Bennett and ANIC are not just under scrutiny here in Nashville now. The company also had customers in Rutherford County. And Murfreesboro police now have their own investigation going.

If you are an ANIC customer who is still waiting for work to be done, you can contact the detectives investigating ANIC by calling the Metro Police Fraud unit at 615-862-7594.

To file a complaint about American National Insurance Construction or any other home repair business: contact the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors at (615) 741-8307 or Contractors.Home-Improvement@TN.Gov and the Consumer Insurance Services section of the Insurance Division at 615-741-2218 or CIS.complaints@tn.gov.

E-mail: jkraus@newschannel5.com

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