LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Since the turn of 2023, investigations have gone silent on an Arkansas contractor who’s accused of scamming people out of thousands of dollars.
Contractor Stephen Rast was initially introduced in a 2022 Working 4 You investigation after he was accused of taking a deposit for work and failing to return to finish a job at a Bryant home.
Rast is the owner of J & R Restoration and Landscaping and R & B Design and Landscaping.
In December 2022, Former Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a suit against him and his wife Taylor Wells claiming violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“We’re going to get him and we’re going to hold him accountable,” Rutledge said.
It was a promise made back in December that’s since gone unfulfilled.
Seven months later, the attorney’s general office declined to do an interview and said there was no update on the matter.
However, Working 4 You is still looking to get answers.
“What has it been now 7-8 months? … oh my gosh,” client Ronald Privitera asked.
Questions flood in from Ronald Privitera and Glenn Simms who shelled out hundreds to Rast and were left empty handed.
“I wrote him a check for $600,” Privitera said.
“4,750 is what I paid him,” Simms said. “Next thing I know, crickets.”
Sims said it’s the same sound he’s now getting from the AG’s office.
“I haven’t heard anything from them at all,” Sims said.
After a declining our request for an interview, Working 4 You looked into the progress of the AG’s lawsuit against Rast and his wife. We found out that they have spent months trying to track them down.
According to court records, it started in January with phone calls and emails. In April, the state hired a licensed process server to track down an address. An address in Bryant and another in Paron were both unsuccessful.
They’ve tried attending hearings and posing as a buyer for the couple’s car, all ending in silence.
“….he’s got to make a paper trail somewhere,” Privitera said.
More than 200 days later, Rast and Wells have still not been served.
“I know he’s gonna be using alias names, but all these other people that come in contact with him, you think that they would say something or know about it,” Privitera said.
People like Ronald Privitera are starting to wonder if they will ever get their money back. They are starting to lose faith in the people they first put trust in.
“I wish the Attorney General would get up and get moving a little more,” Privitera said. “Put a task force on him cause I know he’s got to be making a living somehow and this is probably how he’s doing it.”
The attorney’s general office has gotten approval from the courts to extend their search through October of this year.
In the last few days, the AG’s office has filed a warning order, which if passed would allow them to go through with the case without Rast being present.