CLAY COUNTY — Northland business owner Cory Richards, 33, was arrested on a host of charges for allegedly defrauding customers in connection with his businesses Metro Home Rehab and All Hands on Deck Outdoor Restoration. Richards was arrested in a sting operation coordinated by the Missouri Attorney General Consumer Protection investigators and the Clay County Fugitive Apprehension Unit.
Richards is being held in lieu of $700,000 bond in Clay County Detention Center in Liberty.
“Richards promised his victims contracting and construction services in exchange for large advance payments. After taking money from several consumers, including elderly Missourians, Richards did not provide the services as promised,” states a release from the attorney general’s office.
According to booking records, Richards faces multiple counts of deceptive business practices and financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Natalie Hewitt and John Grantham.
The consumer fraud case is the second involving Northland business owners in two months.
John L. Cazzell, 72, was sentenced last month for felony charges of defrauding customers in connection with his Northland, Kansas City-based business, Four Seasons Lawn & Landscape.
“Cazzell promised extensive landscaping services in exchange for large advance payments. After taking money from several consumers, including elderly Missourians, Cazzell never followed through to provide landscaping services to any of them as promised,” states a separate release from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office.
Cazzell was indicted and arrested in September of 2020. He pleaded guilty May 13, 2021. In his original suit for fraud against Cazzell, Schmitt’s office cited three instances, two from Clay County and one from Platte County, where thousands of dollars in payments were taken by Cazzell and work was never completed despite customers calling Cazzell multiple times in multiple months.
The case leveled three law violations against Cazzell and the company: false promise, unfair practice and misrepresentation.
“John Cazzell repeatedly said that ‘This will all go away,’ but he clearly doesn’t know how we operate in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office — we work tirelessly to hold bad actors accountable and recoup funds for affected consumers,” said Schmitt. “This case is yet another example of the great work that our Consumer Protection Section does every single day.”
In 2020, Cazzell told the Courier-Tribune he was served papers regarding the original fraud legal case, but was confused as to why a suit was filed by the AG’s office. The company owner and operator said he spoke with the attorney general and told Schmitt he would have customers refunded money within nine months.
“I don’t know what the big deal is. I can’t understand why the media is involved,” he told the Courier-Tribune at the time.
Cazzell also said in 2020 he had serious medical issues that prevented him from working for long periods of time, adding media reports on the lawsuit painted his more-than-40-year career in an unfair and bad light as well as caused damage to his business.
“I’ve done all the biggest places in Kansas City in work. To have all of this come down on me all of sudden after my illnesses, I just can’t believe it,” he told the CT in 2020.
Cazzell was sentenced to one year of house arrest followed by four years of probation. As part of his sentence, Cazzell paid $62,265 in restitution, which will go to pay back his victims. He is also forbidden from accepting upfront payments from consumers.
Last year, Attorney General Schmitt received a civil judgment against Cazzell for his unlawful business practices in Missouri in connection with the same landscaping business.
Originally Appeared Here