Saturday, December 10, 2022

Arizona business owners say “fake architect” took their money and disappeared

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — From lifting weights to fast-paced cardio, Jeremy Jones says he loves transforming people’s bodies and minds. “From a fitness standpoint and just helping people in general, I always say we need to help people through the medium of fitness,” Jeremy told On Your Side inside his gym.

Jeremy has operated his own training center, Functional Fitness, for 14 years in Gilbert. He says the business has been so successful that he has outgrown his current location and wants to move to a new, bigger location. “It will be a new brand. Modern and wide open.”

Jeremy even has computer-generated renderings hanging on a gym wall that illustrate exactly what he envisions his new fitness center will look like. “We’ll have nice entrances and cardio in here and outside there will be artificial turf and we’ll have cold tubs,” he said.

To get things started, Jeremy hired an architect a year and a half ago to draw up plans for contractors so he could get permits. Construction was supposed to start a few months ago. “In September of 2020 we hired a guy named Ivo Badilla and it turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes we ever made,” Jeremy said.

His full name is Ivonek Badilla and he runs a business called Evo12th Street Designs. Jeremy says he owed Badilla and his company over $28,000 to get the job started and even signed a contract. “So this is Ivo Badilla, the con artist himself,” Jeremy said as he showed us a photo he found online.

According to Jeremy, the only thing he got for $28,000 from Badilla were two computer-generated renderings. “These are pretty expensive pictures,” said On Your Side’s Gary Harper. “Yes, they are very expensive,” replied Jeremy.

On Your Side got involved and tried to track Badilla down at his Scottsdale apartment. Badilla has a doorbell camera and no one answered the door. But after we left, we discovered some disturbing news.

The Arizona Board of Technical Registration licenses and regulates architects. But Badilla’s name and his business Evo 12th Street Designs are not registered.

It turns out that more victims say “On your side” that they gave Badilla money for architecture and he disappeared with their money. One of those victims is Mike Biesemeyer. “What did you get for $12,500 from this so-called architect?” Harper asked. “Absolutely nothing,” he said.

Mike wanted to expand his company and handed Badilla more than $12,500 to draw up plans, but Badilla disappeared with the money. “After I gave him the money, he went down the street and kept it and excused himself after 3 to 5 weeks, and then he shut up about me,” Mike explained.

As for business owners like Mike and Jeremy and others, they agree that small losses here and there are part of doing business. But voluntarily handing over large sums of money and trusting someone is not part of a successful business model.

“What do you think he’s doing with your money? Harper asked. Jeremy replied, “Well, based on what I’ve seen on social media, I’ve seen him at black tie events and nice restaurants in Scottsdale. So I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Whose money is paying for this?’

Knowing On Your Side was investigating, the fake contractor emailed me saying he plans to start a payment plan with Jeremy. We will let you know if the first payment has been made and if so, how much it is.

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