Paving contractor with shady past shows up again

Clack from when he was arrested in Horry County

A paving contractor with a history of ripping people off is back in business in South Carolina.

This time, Tommy Clack was spotted in Beaufort County, with the sheriff's office there warning people to be on the lookout for his type of scam.

Clack has scammed people in Horry County and been arrested for various offenses in Florence and Charleston counties. But he just keeps popping up.

Now, one of his victims is wondering why he can't be stopped.

Sara Quinto of Green Sea had a run-in with Clack back in July, 2009.

She said he got $1,500 dollars of her money for doing some shoddy work on her driveway and would have gotten another $15,000 if she hadn't stopped payment on the check.

"Luckily, I gave him a check on a bank in Texas and this gave me at least 4 days to research him," Quinto said.

Quinto said Clack is a smooth talker who'll tell you a story about having leftover asphalt from another job nearby, so he'll make you a good deal to get rid of it.

He pressures you to do the job right away, she said, then does more work than you wanted, inflates the price, and does substandard work.

North Carolina banned clack from doing business there, but Quinto wants to know why something hasn't been done about him in South Carolina.

"Well, that's what I wonder. All these innocent, mainly over 65 people are the ones who are getting hit."

Horry County Solicitor Greg Hembree said North Carolina has a law allowing the attorney general to enjoin ,or stop, scam artists like Clack from doing business. South Carolina does not.

"With the method we have available to us as prosecutors, we can't really stop him, we can't prevent him from committing that crime which we know from his past he intends to commit," Hembree said.

He said South Carolina's system is reactive and prosecutors are often hamstrung in preventing scam artists from ripping off somebody new.

"There's no question we have some room for improvement in our consumer protection area," said Hembree. "We're a very business friendly state and that's a good thing in many ways, but it can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who are thieves that use business like an armed robber uses a gun."

Quinto wants a tougher law.

"What do we need to do? If I need to write letters, if I need to campaign, I would like to know."

Hembree advises consumers, before you give money to someone who shows up at your door, check with the Better Business Bureau first, and always remember that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

South Carolina's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation placed a cease and desist order on Clack two years ago, but that only affects commercial work. He can still do residential jobs.

NewsChannel 15 tried to contact the state attorney general's office, but didn't get a call back.