KEARNEY, Mo. — Dave Stephenson looked at the empty field behind his home and shook his head.

There should have been a barn built on the property, but the man he paid a $4,100 deposit to in February has never done any work.

“At this point, it seems like he’s trying to avoid my calls,” said Stephenson who contacted FOX4 Problem Solvers for help in April. “It’s a scam.”

Stephenson said he’s one of more than a dozen victims of the same scam, including Carla and David Heckert. They paid the same company $26,000 to build a barn on their Smithville property that could also function as a home.

Work was supposed to start in August, but the Heckerts told Problem Solvers they barely saw a soul until January. That’s when a few men, mostly teenagers, appeared.

“They would just come with a few 2-by-4s in the back of their pickup truck,” said David Heckert, a retired carpenter. “They’d get here at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, drop their stuff off, and then tell us they’re going to go get something to eat. Then they show back up and about 4 o’clock, work for about an hour, roll their stuff back up and leave.”

Carla Heckert said the exact same scenario happened dozens of times, resulting in almost no work being done.

“I’ve gone through cancer and lots of hardships, but…

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