MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - "I need my money!" Louisa Bertrand said.
Bertrand showed the Leave it to Layron team a copy of the $2,000 check she made out to Exclusive Doors and Windows. It was a deposit for $4,000 worth of accordion hurricane shutters and a hurricane impact door she contracted the company to install on her Miami Gardens home.
The check was cashed last May.
She said when the company finally arrived in November to install the shutters and door, the door was the wrong size and the shutters were not the color that was approved by her homeowners association.
"They came with a bigger door and expected to break my wall in order to fit their door," Bertrand said.
Bertrand said the workers told her they'd come back. When we spoke with her in March, she was still waiting.
"I'm a retired grandmother," she said. "My income is a fixed income. If you don't want to do the job, just give me back my money."
Bertrand said the owner of the company, Luis Pimentel, offered her a refund. She's still waiting on that too.
The LITL team caught up with Pimentel as he left a bankruptcy hearing in downtown Miami last month.
"Any questions can go to my lawyer," he said as he walked to his car.
We reached out to his attorney, but have not heard back
Nearly 100 creditors are listed in the filing. Court officials said the company collected more than $330,000 in customer deposits over a year's time. Bertrand's name was among those listed.
"I need my money," she said.
According the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, Exclusive Doors and Windows LLC opened up shop in 2016.
According to bankruptcy court documents, the company's address is 175 Fontainebleau Blvd. in Miami-Dade County. One neighboring business owner said the company moved out of the office building months ago.
State records show Exclusive Doors and Windows also did business as Exclusive Accordions LLC, which listed the same Fontainebleau Boulevard address.
The LITL team also found a Miami-Dade Accordions LLC, which is also owned by Pimentel.
State records show that business was established last fall and listed 9605 NW 79th Ave. in Hialeah Gardens as its address.
No one was at either location when the LITL team stopped by.
But Bertrand described seeing the same worker who negotiated her contract going in and out of the warehouse space just days after Exclusive Doors and Windows filed its bankruptcy case.
She took photos and even called the police.
The management office for the warehouse space told the LITL team Pimentel signed the lease for space last July. As of March 1, he was current on the rent.
"I know that they're collecting more money," Bertrand said. "They're working to have another business."
She called the entire operation "crooked."
"I know a lawyer that is above all lawyers," she said, pointing to the sky. "I know a judge that is above all judges. I'm going to get [my] money."
Bertrand was one of several customers who showed up for the bankruptcy hearing last month. Our cameras were not allowed inside the federal facility, but Pimentel claimed "cash flow" issues and mismanagement were partly to blame for the bankruptcy filing.
The trustee appointed to the case sent the LITL team a statement:
"The allegations raised by several purportedly defrauded customers are troubling. The trustee is currently investigating the debtor and potential assets belonging to the debtor’s bankruptcy estate. The trustee and her professionals will vigilantly pursue and administer all viable assets and potential causes of action, in order to maximize the recovery and distribution available to creditors and defrauded customers. If someone believes they have a claim against this debtor, he or she should make sure to submit a timely proof of claim in the bankruptcy case. Although not required, it is strongly suggested that potential claimants consult with an attorney."
We're told that proof of claim must be filed by April 22.
In a statement, a representative with the Florida Attorney General's Office said its Consumer Protection Division is also reviewing more than a dozen complaints against Pimentel and Exclusive Doors and Windows LLC.
"We encourage anyone aware of deceptive behavior involving these entities to report it to our office at 1(866) 9-No-Scam, or file a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com," the representative said.
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