Ramona Bellard is a working single mother, living in Killeen with her two sons.
Back in 2015, Texas Technical Construction of Nolanville was assigned by Bellard’s home warranty company to fix her hot water heater.
That’s how Bellard became acquainted with Aaron Sagel.
Sagel performed a variety of jobs for Bellard over the period of a few months, mostly plumbing. Bellard thought Sagel was a “good Christian man” based on conversations they had while he was at her house.
Bellard had also indicated to Sagel she planned to build an addition on to her house at some point in the future.
After the untimely death of Bellard’s father in October 2015, Bellard believes a mention of her inheritance sparked a frequent series of calls and text messages from Sagel, asking when she would be ready to move forward with the home addition.
Finally, in November 2015, Bellard decided to accept Sagel’s offer to do the work.
“I had no concerns at all, because we had established this relationship,” Bellard said.
She paid Sagel $11,900 to start the job.
“I did not check references, everything I know better to do,” Bellard said.
The only work Sagel did was to bring out a Bobcat tractor and tear up her back yard.
When Sagel did not continue the work, Bellard kept calling him. One excuse Sagel used was the seasonal rains. Then, when she asked about consulting with an architect, Sagel claimed he would just use a sketch.
Bellard was directed to pay almost $12,000 for “Phase 2” of the project. Sagel’s wife, Mildred Rodriguez, explained that all the work on “Phase 1” had been completed — mostly permitting. “Phase 2” would involve purchasing lumber and other supplies.
The amount was paid, and the next time Sagel came to Bellard’s house, she noticed he was driving a brand new pickup truck.
Further suspicions were aroused after Bellard learned that a job Sagel was supposed to do at a property she owns in Copperas Cove was never completed.
Bellard filed a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. She also complained to the home warranty company, who claimed no responsibility for the behavior of this contractor.
Bellard’s demands for a refund of the $24,000 she had paid Texas Technical Construction were refused.
In early 2017, Bellard then filed a police report.
That’s when Sagel and Rodriguez fled the area.
Bellard may not have been the only customer Sagel and Rodriguez allegedly bilked out of money.
One review on the Yelp website, written by Angelina M. of Harker Heights, read, “all i can say is stay away!!!!!! this guy has not a single license to perform anything, he claims he does, not!!!!! he has no insurance.”
Sagel has a history of arrests, according to the Temple Daily Telegram.
Since 2001, Sagel has been charged with offenses such as unlawful restraint, escape from custody, displaying fictitious motor vehicle registration and an invalid license, probation violation and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He spent time in jail for some of these offenses.
Sagel and Rodriguez were arrested in North Port, Florida, on May 31, 2017, on an outstanding warrant issued by the Killeen Police Department. The charge was theft.
At the time of his arrest, Sagel claimed to be a “master electrician.” according to the arrest report.
Both Sagel and Rodriguez were extradited from Florida to Texas in early June.
The disposition of their case is unknown at this point.
Neither Sagel nor Rodriguez remains in custody, according to Bell County Jail records.
Bellard hopes that, someday, justice will be served and she will see her money returned.