From Lawn and Landscape Magazine (Credit Givien) Unhappy Customers Spur Probe of Lawn Firm By The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) 11/29/2004 CLEVELAND Police are investigating a lawn care company accused of cheating five customers who paid up front for landscaping work. Suburban Acres Landscaping, owned by Rasheem Smith, donated several hours of yard work to winners of a Cleveland Plain Dealer contest looking for "desperate housewives." But after the company's name ran with a story announcing the contest winners nine women from Sagamore Hills a reader called to warn about problems with the company. The reader, Wendy Moran of Shaker Heights, signed a contract with the company for nearly $2,000, she said. She said that she paid up front but that Smith's company never showed up to do the promised work. Moran and several other people took the company to small claims court and complained to Shaker Heights police. Suburban Acres lists a Shaker Heights address but has only a post office box in the city. It is run out of a Cleveland office. Police Chief Walter Ugrinic said detectives investigated the company and will soon take five complaints to prosecutors. Smith is not charged with any crimes related to the lawn care claims. Police have not been able to locate Smith, who, court records show, uses many different names. He is also wanted on a felony drug warrant in the county. Smith, who could not be reached at his business or home phones, has a long criminal history of drug and theft offenses. The Plain Dealer will choose a new company to perform the lawn services for contest winners. Moran said she should have investigated more thoroughly. She was angry about the money she lost but was more hurt when she discovered that an elderly woman said she, too, had been scammed. "That really hit me in the stomach," she said. Ugrinic warns consumers to check out companies that they contract with and to never pay for services up front "regardless of how good the deal may sound."