Wisconsin contractor accused of repeatedly scamming customers out on $10K bail

MADISON, Wis. — A contractor with a history of scamming people out of thousands of dollars is out on bail in Columbia County after previously pleading with Dane County court officials to give him a signature bond, claiming at the time he wouldn’t be able to pay customers back if he was behind bars.

Columbia County Jail officials have confirmed to News 3 Now that 51-year-old Tyler Hansen posted his $10,000 bond Tuesday after making his initial appearance in Columbia County court earlier that day on a charge of theft by a contractor.

Late last week, Hansen appeared in Dane County court on a similar charge and pleaded with the presiding judge to give him a signature bond, saying he wouldn’t be able to pay his customers back if he had to come up with that kind of money.

“If I’m incarcerated right now for bail, I’m going to lose that job and the ability to pay these people back,” Hansen said during an appearance in Dane County court on Thursday. “I just paid two more customers back last week. We’re working really hard to do that.”

RELATED: Call for Action: Local contractor accused of scamming dozens expresses remorse in court

Judge David Conway granted him the signature bond. Hansen was taken into custody in Columbia County the next day.

According to a criminal complaint filed against Hansen in Columbia County court, he and his wife Jennifer would regularly deposit customer checks into a business account, and, when the checks cleared, they would take the money out in cash and hide it away in a safety deposit box or in their personal bank accounts to prevent customers from asking for refunds due to incomplete work.

Prosecutors went on to allege that, following Hansen’s Dane County court appearance, his wife Jennifer admitted to clearing out that safety deposit box. It’s unclear how much money might’ve been inside or if that money was used to pay Hansen’s bail.

While talking with Columbia County investigators, Hansen also reportedly admitted to using customers’ payments for non-business expenses on several occasions — including using funds in his business account for child support payments.

In a separate criminal complaint filed in Monroe County, prosecutors noted that financial records from 2021 and 2022 showed Hansen and his wife on several occasions wrote checks from one business bank account to another when funds were low. Records from the same time period reportedly showed that Hansen wrote checks from business accounts to personal accounts and vice versa.

Other records show Hansen and his various LLCs are facing contractor fraud allegations in 16 different Wisconsin counties. Charges had been filed in at least five as of Wednesday. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has also received numerous complaints regarding Hansen’s conduct.

The News 3 Now Call for Action team has been contacted by more than five dozen people who’ve lost money due to Hansen’s failure to finish jobs throughout 2022.

If you have a consumer issue you’d like the Call for Action team to review, click or tap here.