Man promising home repairs scams residents out of thousands, Daytona Beach Shores police say

A Volusia County man is accused of defrauding several people out of thousands of dollars in a home contracting scheme.

Victims say they don’t necessarily expect to get their money back at this point, but they do expect justice.

“He showed us rendering of cabinets and we got all excited,” Stephanie Ruta said.

Ruta and her husband Enrico Ruta say they hired John Venneman two years ago for a kitchen remodel at their beachside condo.

The couple says they gave Venneman, now charged with scheming to defraud, $9,500.

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The kitchen was demolished and then months went by with no new cabinets.

“(It was) story after story including wild schemes of cabinets being held up in Barcelona and then his discovery that the company was actually from China,” Stephanie Ruta said.

Stephanie Ruta says Venneman stopped taking their calls and refused to return their money.

Police say all of Venneman’s victims in Daytona Beach Shores are in the same complex. They say he smooth talked them. Police say one elderly man is out nearly $10,000.

“I have one 94-year-old man who wanted his bathroom fixed because he has trouble with his mobility. He took thousands of dollars from him, he’s done no work at all,” Public Safety Director Stephan Dembinsky said.

Police say Venneman told them in one job, he took it but failed to do the work because he was busy with other projects.

Ultimately, police say Venneman made excuses, delayed work and abandoned the jobs.

Police say the suspect never got any permits to do work in their city.

It was a lesson the Rutas say they learned because they failed to check Venneman out.

“We didn’t do that and we don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake,” Stephanie Ruta said.

Police said they have already heard from a fourth person who claims to have lost $25,000 to the same suspect. They are waiting for her to file a report.

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