MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man has been charged after a woman says she watched her home rehab project go from bad to worse and lost thousands of dollars in the process.

Natalie Monkhouse’s home improvement project has become a nightmare.

“I have a baby grandson. I have a baby granddaughter. I can’t bring them into this house. There’s no way,” she said. “This is what the kitchen looks like now, and it’s obviously a disaster area, but it was worse. There were electrical wires hanging down.”

Monkhouse put her faith and a small fortune into the hands of Nelson Elvir, whose business Elvir Handyman, promised to make a number of home improvements, including turning a closet space into a master bathroom. 

“So he rips up everything right here, rips up everything right there, rips out here and leaves hanging live electrical,” Monkhouse said.

Elvir, who claimed to be a licensed contractor in several trades, submitted a contract for $34,000 and Monkhouse paid a $10,000 deposit. But she said things started turning sour after Elvir wasn’t showing up to do the promised work.

“He’s referred to himself both as Nelson Garcia and as Nelson Elvir and so just even getting a correct name from this person has been a challenge,” Monkhouse said.

She contacted MPD who conducted a Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Verify search and found no valid home improvement or contractor’s license for Elvir. He was arrested and charged with impersonating a licensed professiona;.

We went by the address listed for Elvir, but no one answered the door.

Monkhouse said she’s still counting up her losses, including an attorney’s fee.

“I’m probably looking between 50 and 60 thousand dollars easily,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South ran a check on the Nelson Elvir and said they couldn’t find any record of him in their database.

The BBB urges you to ask for proof of insurance and proof of license before handing over any money.