Attorney General Warns Of Fraud As Storm Season Approaches

Thursday, April 10th 2014, 10:07 pm
By: News 9

The state Attorney General's office sends a warning to those who are looking to get a storm shelter.

Dozens of shelter companies have come into the state in the past year, but some are just looking to get a quick buck.

News 9 first told you about Sooner State Shelters last October. The company was taking thousands of dollars up front and not finishing the job. Since that story aired, a number of people tell us the owner of the company, Randy Pluto, is still at it.

"Owner Randy Pluto has disavowed any responsibility for taking care of this," said Linda Dunn in October. "He has no intention of doing the right thing, and refunding our money."  

Dunn has since had a new storm shelter installed, by a reputable company. But it took about 11 days, three subcontractors, and more than $3,500. She says Pluto and Sooner State Shelters are a living nightmare.

"So this is the subcontractors fault, this big mess?" asked News 9 reporter Evan Anderson.

"Yeah, all faze concrete, we uh, we subcontract work. They do everything, carry their own liability, excavation, all that," said Pluto.

During a phone interview last October, Pluto blamed his shoddy work on subcontractors he hired.

10/3/2013 Related Story: OKC Homeowners Warn Of Storm Shelter Scam

"We've seen an influx of storm shelter companies come into the state and there [are] some concerns," said Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie Bays.

Bays says a reputable storm company will never ask for money up front and most won't ask you for a dime until the job is complete.

"If they've got a special deal, they can give you a thousand dollars off. And if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is," said Bays. "Because they're probably also still asking for the money up front."

So far, the Attorney General's office has only received one complaint with Sooner State Shelters even though News 9 received several.

"Without complaints, our office is unaware of any activity of businesses unless this is brought to your attention," said Bays.

Pluto could face a $5,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison if he's caught. He may also have to pay back his victims. Pluto may have recently left the country. A few of his victims tell News 9 they were told he fled to the Philippines.

10/9/2013 Related Story: OKC Family Finally Receives Property-Installed Shelter After Scam