Veteran left homeless after contractor allegedly takes insurance money, leaves home gutted

Contractor allegedly exploits Kilgore veteran with home repair scam

KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas veteran says he’s in a no-win situation in trying to repair his home after a contractor left him high and dry.

Back in March, the south side of Kilgore was hit by a massive storm damaging hundreds of homes.

The victim in this case, a Vietnam veteran, says he relied on his insurance to rebuild his shattered home. But instead, what happened in the months that followed left him homeless.

Most of the homes in south Kilgore along Layton Street that were damaged in the March storms have been repaired, except one, belonging to Vietnam veteran Don Greathouse home for 42 years.

Going through his insurance company, Greathouse hired a contractor, Preston McGinnis, to rebuild. But then things began to go wrong.

“He had promised me that he’d have it back up in two months. I have emailed him and called him since the middle of April. Got no response and he vanished,” Greathouse says.

"The house has been totally taken down to studs by the contractor we had," says daughter Renee Stevens.

And it wasn't just the repairs, every fixture and piece of furniture was removed, and not returned.

"Sinks, bathtub, they were loaded on a truck and hauled off," Greathouse says.

“Everything was supposed to be put back in. The contractor threw it all away. About $20,000 worth.” Renee says.

The contractor was found and arrested on charges of theft of property. But insurance money has been depleted, leaving Don without enough to rebuild.

For Don and his family the building was more than just a home.

"I was raised in this house as my siblings were, my dad worked so hard to get here to be in this house, and now he's 74 years old and has no home. It's very hard to see my dad doesn't have a house anymore," says Renee.

“My wife passed away in that house. At this point in time, I really don’t know what to do,” Greathouse says.

Greathouse is now living with relatives. He says at some point he hopes to find the resources to rebuild his home.

Preston McGinnis, the man Greathouse identified as the contractor, was arrested on September 6, and charged with second degree felony theft of property in connection with repairing the home and the property taken from the inside of the house.

Preston McGinnis was arrested and taken to Gregg County Jail.
Preston McGinnis was arrested and taken to Gregg County Jail. (Source: Gregg County Jail)

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