'Skodak Moment' - serial entrepreneur kills reputations

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This is a guy who has all kinds of different businesses and uses all kinds of different names.

 He calls himself a visionary but it appears he just has his eyes on your money. And the people who've dealt with him say he's hurt them in the pocketbook and hurt their reputations.

This guy sets up what look like legitimate businesses.  Then he fools people into doing the leg work setting them up to be the fall guys.  But he's the one making the money.

Say hi to Jeff D'Angelo.

"I don't have a business currently open right now," he said.

Rob Wolchek: "None of them?"

Yeah, Jeff D'Angelo has a bunch of businesses.  He's a serial entrepreneur.

"Mr. D'Angelo is a smooth talker who plays the victim," said Dave, a Prime Direct victim.

A real go-getter who's getting a lot of people mad.

"He said I'm not afraid of your legal threats at all because I've done this before," said Zach, a Prime Direct victim.

One of Jeff D'Angelo's websites says he offers "Character, integrity and value."  Interesting because the guy doesn't even use his real name.

"He's portraying he's Jeff D'Angelo and he's not," said Carmen, a Prime Direct victim.

"He's Jeff D'Angelo, he's Jeff Skodak, there's Jeff Allen," says Jennifer, who once worked for him.

So just who is this guy?

"He's a professional con artist is what he is," said Jenny, a Debt Bolt victim.

You're going to find out.

Wolchek: "What about the people that say you took their money and didn't do their jobs?"

"I don't have no comment on anything because none of it is true," said Jeff D'Angelo.

This is Charles.  And this is a truck customized with logos for a company called Prime Direct that Charles says he was tricked into paying for.

Charles, a roofer, said he was contacted by a guy named Jeff D'Angelo who wanted him to have a big role in his construction company, Prime Direct Now. 

"His m.o. is to get someone who knows what they're doing, have them be the face of things," Charles said. "He sits at home on his computer.  The homeowners never see him so he says 'hey, it was that guy who screwed you.  Not me."

Yep.  Charles was the dupe but he didn't know it yet.  Jeff D'Angelo's company has a great website.  He claims the company is licensed.  It says right here "for 25 years we have provided exceptional service to over 3,500 clients."

Charles's girlfriend Carmen also thought it was a great opportunity.  A partnership with a company that claimed to be a Better Business Bureau accredited, was awarded Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year!

But after paying to get the truck done, starting some jobs the nifty website brought in, Charles and Carmen realized, they were just pieces in Jeff D'Angelo's little game.

"The check bounced for our labor," Charles said.

And when the customers complained because the materials they'd paid Prime Direct for never arrived. Jeff painted Charles as a crook.

"Jeff would come in like he was a hero to the homeowner," Carmen said.

Zach was a customer.

Wolchek: "So all in all you gave this Jeff D'Angelo guy and his company $110,000?"

"Yes sir," Zach said.

Zach says Jeff never showed up to any of the jobs - just sub-contractors who stopped working because they said Jeff wouldn't pay them.

But Jeff blamed the sub-contractors and the suppliers.  Even though Jeff claimed he didn't rip Zach off, he agreed to start paying him back out of the goodness of his heart.

"He delivered a $10,000 check," Zach said. "When I went to the bank the next morning to deposit it, it had already been cancelled."

Dave's another customer of Prime Direct.

"He proceeded to give us a quote of $25,000 to complete a siding job within a month," Dave said.

That was in October of 2017.  But it wasn't done in a month, in fact, last summer they still hadn't started the job.

Dave asked for his money back but Jeff said a sub-contractor had stolen his deposit check.

Wolchek: "You believe that D'Angelo took the check?"

"We believe so.  It was deposited into his company's account," Dave said.

Finally, in October, a sub-contractor showed up and tore off Dave's old siding. But after a few days said he was through, Jeff hadn't paid him.

So, now it's winter.  And Dave and his wife have to live in a house with no siding.

I found out Jeff D'Angelo's real name is Jeff Skodak.  Over the last 21 years he's been convicted of retail fraud, felony stealing of a financial transaction device and felony check fraud.  He's also been sued a whole bunch of times.

Jeff Skodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and again last year.  This case was dismissed by the court because Jeff didn't fill out his paperwork.  So, he filed again just last month.

He owes a lot of people money.  Which is kind of interesting because he also runs a couple of debt collection companies - GKL Recovery and Debt Bolt.
For just $199 per month, Jeff will collect on your debts. Just upload your personal information to Jeff's company and even though it's not a licensed debt collection agency, somehow Jeff will help you.

So how do they work? That's what jenny wants to know.

Jenny contacted Jeff D'Angelo on Facebook because he also claimed was a website builder.  She runs a purse company. 

"He told me you're going to be so rich, you're not going to know what to do with yourself," she said.

But not in the purse business, in the debt collection business. He convinced Jenny to PayPal him $750.  In turn, she got a list of people's personal information and debt they owed.

Wolchek: "So you're supposed to call these people?"

"I don't know," she said. "I said Jeff, what am I supposed to do with this and he said don't worry, June 15th you'll have $15,000."

Jenny demanded her money back.  Jeff never paid. 

Liz said she worked as a secretary for Jeff Allen, as he was calling himself a few years ago. She says he avoided his customers.

"He would run out the back door," she said.

Wolchek: "And you had to run defense for him?"

"Exactly," she said.

She says she had enough after about six months.

"He kept changing his businesses.  He kept changing his name." 

Well, you can't change this Jeff.  You just got charged with three new felonies.  False pretenses over $1,000 and two counts of writing non-sufficient checks."

Sheriff Anthony Wickersham says Macomb County investigators figured out the real identity of a guy calling himself Jeff D'Angelo who cheated a lumber company out of $8,000. 

Seems Jeff's attempt to legally change his name from Skodak to D'Angelo led them right to him.

"Mr. Skodak in August of 2018 petitioned the court to change his name from Jeffrey Skodak to Jeffrey D'Angelo," said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham “He never showed up for court and he issued them a 175 dollar check to court that couldn't be cashed."

The old non-sufficient fund check trick.  You know, like Zach said he did to him?  And even though Skodak wasn't charged in those cases, he has been charged with writing a check for $8,000 worth of building materials on his Prime Direct Now account.

"Once the order was delivered, Mr. Skodak immediately stopped payment on that check," Wickersham said. 

But it gets worse.  Jeff then wrote out another check on his Debt Bolt business account.

"He issued a second check that didn't have the funds in it to cover the 8-thousand in building material," Wickersham said.

The sheriff says both accounts had less than $50 in them.

What's Jeff Skodak got to say?  Here he comes out of court.