Unlicensed contractor arrested, charged with theft after Better Call Harry investigation

William Cox has a long criminal record dating back to 1989.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:05 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - An unlicensed contractor who was originally investigated by CBS46′s Better Call Harry for failing to complete several residential construction projects has been arrested by Johns Creek police.

William Otis Cox has been charged with theft by conversion and theft by deception. He appeared Monday morning for a hearing in Fulton County, where he was given a $25,000 bond.

Cox is the owner of Cox Construction Services. According to a search of the Georgia Department of Corrections offender database, Cox has a long criminal record dating back to 1989. He has been sentenced to varying lengths of incarceration in Gwinnett, Barrow and Baldwin counties on charges ranging from theft by taking, impersonation, forgery, possession of methamphetamine and burglary.

Better Call Harry first reported on Cox and his work for Johns Creek homeowner Joseph Sgroe, who paid Cox more than more than $16,000 to build a new deck with a covered porch. Cox never completed the job, leaving Sgroe with a small pile of lumber, a messy demolition site, and four raised beams that are propped up and barely secured.

RELATED: Homeowner paid $16K to contractor. This is all he has to show for it

Sgroe reached out to Better Call Harry for help. During the investigation into Cox Construction Services, Harry discovered Cox was not licensed nor did he get a permit to do the job. On top of that, an inspector looked at what was done on the deck, and says it was not up to code and dangerous.

After the CBS46 story aired, two more people reached out, claiming they were dealing with the same problem after giving Cox money.

Konstynce Eberhard and her husband were renovating and expanding a relative’s home. She hired Cox to do the flooring, exterior work in the carport, and a shower in the master bath.

At first, Eberhard said Cox’s crew worked hard on the project. So when he asked for more money, she paid it, totaling $9,200.

RELATED: Three customers out nearly $45K to unlicensed Ga. contractor

Before the work was done, Eberhard said the workers stopped showing up. She filed a criminal report, but Winder Police deemed it a civil matter.

Two more of Cox’s customers have filed police reports, but said they intend to take Cox to court in order to get their money back.

Better Call Harry presented three cases to Johns Creek police. After several weeks of investigation, police discovered enough of a pattern to make the arrest.

“I understood I’m not going to get my money, but putting him away makes us very happy,” Sgroe said after Cox’s arrest.

“I will win at the end, remember that,” Cox said after his court appearance. “He’s suing me for $16,000; he has $9,000 of his own money, so that’s a lie.”

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