A Mississippi governor's warrant was served Friday morning on a man accused of scamming local disaster victims.
Jamie Lawson was taken into custody as he appeared for a bond hearing in Ottawa County.
Lawson is accused of fraudulently entering into contracts with homeowners to do home repairs and never completing them.
“It appears he just follows disasters around and scams people out of their money,” said Avril Henze of Gautier, Miss., who gave Lawson $25,000 to repair her 4,500-square-foot-home after Hurricane Katrina.
Dozens of homeowners in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Louisiana have reportedly lost thousands of dollars by putting their trust in Lawson.
Nearly every one of Lawson's victims describes the 32-year-old “gangly looking kid” as the “perfect con artist.”
“He is just the sweetest, most sincere boy you'll ever meet,” Henze said. “He's got the best personality. He's one of those kind of people you just want to hug.”
Benny Nash, also of Gautier, Miss., said Lawson is the kind of young man you'll take in “like he's one of your own.”
Nash gave Lawson several thousand dollars “up front” to repair his home after Hurricane Katrina.
A Miami couple filed a complaint against Lawson last week, claiming they had lost nearly $10,000 in money they gave the self-proclaimed general contractor after this year's flood devastated their home.
Not only does Lawson allegedly scam people out of money, according to his victims, he is not a legitimate contractor.
“He doesn't know the first thing about carpentry work,” Nash said. “He brought in subcontractors to work on my home and they left after they figured out Jamie wasn't going to pay them.”
The state of Mississippi has 10 days to extradite Lawson back to Jackson County to face fraud charges.
“We really need anyone who had dealings with Mr. Lawson here in Miami to come forward,” Miami Police Chief Gary Anderson said. “We need more than one complaint to show a pattern and get this individual charged locally.”