SC contractor arrested again on fraud charges after Live 5 investigation
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A contractor at the center of complaints for stealing thousands of dollars was arrested again on Wednesday morning, after a Live 5 investigation.
Don Geddes and his wife first told their story back in July. They live on James Island and hired Travis Tardiff to redo their back deck. Geddes said the job was supposed to cost $15,000; they wrote him a check for $7,500 but said the job was never done.
Tardiff, 34, was arrested and charged by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday with breach and obtaining a signature under false pretenses directly related to Geddes’ case, according to the arrest documents.
Geddes said Tardiff started out by emailing them updates after he agreed to do the job and took the down payment in September of last year. Geddes says the last email came through in March when Tardiff dissolved the contract, but Geddes said they never got their money back.
Four days after the story aired, Geddes received an email from Tardiff saying they were working to find the funding to pay them back.
One day after that email was sent, Tardiff was arrested in the Upstate on an outstanding warrant out of Mount Pleasant. He was also charged with breach and obtaining a signature under false pretenses in a separate case, Charleston County Sheriff’s investigators found this and the Geddes’ case almost identical, according to the most recent affidavit.
Geddes filed his complaint with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 19.
The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation confirmed to investigators Tardiff’s builder’s license expired on June 30 of last year and he could not take jobs over $200.
Investigators with the sheriff’s office said they tried to contact Tardiff multiple times but were unsuccessful. Warrants were filed for Tardiff’s arrest on September 29, according to arrest affidavits.
Tardiff’s attorney, Grant Smaldone, responded to a request for comment saying, “this charge came from a series of alleged events. This is not a re-arrest, just someone who basically jumped on the bandwagon once they found out that he had pending charges. So it’s not someone who was arrested and went out and did something again.”
Smaldone says Tardiff is refuting the charges.
“This is a guy who was at a pretty successful business and, basically, ran out of money unfortunately due to people not paying him and ran out of money and is now in bankruptcy,” Smaldone says. “He couldn’t finish the work because he couldn’t afford it.”
Smaldone went on to say, “We both feel bad for the people who are out some money, and our intention is to help them out, but the proper recourse for them would be civil court. To have a criminal charge that requires some intent to swindle people… This is just a guy who fell on hard times, and it’s getting even harder because of this.”
Tardiff was released on a $10,000 bond.
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