ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — “We bank local, we insure local,” said Toby Baker, co-owner of Baker’s Backhoe Service in Elgin.

It’s why he and his wife and co-owner, Kathy, decided to get their insurance with Cannon Insurance Services, owned by former Elgin mayor Christopher Cannon.

But about four years later, Toby said he was working on a project with the University of Texas at Austin when he got an email from the university’s insurance company, Marsh.

“And they told him he couldn’t go on the job that day, and he needed to get his insurance together before he can finish his job,” Kathy recalled.

It turns out, Cannon had been pocketing the Bakers’ payments, according to an indictment. And the certificates of liability insurance Cannon had been sending to the Bakers’ clients, the Bakers said, were fake.

“Every one of these policy numbers is fake,” Toby said as he showed KXAN’s Tahera Rahman his certificates from Cannon’s agency.

“At first, disbelief,” he said. “Like, this can’t be happening. Twenty-five years in business. And I can’t imagine this could ever happen to me.”

“I didn’t believe it, I thought we were friends,” Kathy added.

Court documents state Christopher Cannon, 37, is charged with theft of property — specifically money — equal to or greater than $30,000 but less than $150,000.

The indictment alleges Cannon stole from Baker’s Backhoe Service between Jan. 27, 2015, and Aug. 21, 2019. He was mayor for most of that time, having served for two terms before losing the election in 2020.

The Bakers said they were pulled off their other jobs, too.

“At the same time I was working at ABIA I think I’d started the soccer stadium Kalahari,” Toby said.

They scrambled to get new, legitimate coverage and are thankful their agent at Farmers Insurance Group was able to do that in about a week.

“It takes a big chunk to start the whole insurance policy all over again, especially when you have no record of insurance and to put the deposits down on all these policies that we have to have that was a was quite a work,” Kathy said.

But after about $12,000 up front, they were able to establish insurance coverage and get their jobs back, they said.

Toby said he still can’t believe none of their other clients discovered the problem with Cannon’s insurance papers.

“Everybody bought it for three years. Which really is like — blows my mind,” Toby said.

He said it could’ve gone on for longer if the employee at Marsh hadn’t spotted the red flag.

“The gal caught that the font was wrong on the top of my workman’s comp policy, that’s what started this whole thing,” Toby said.

He said even though he got thrown off his jobs for a short time because of it, he’s thankful they discovered the problem before any accident happened on the job.

“Let’s say me, or one of my guys dig through fiber or hit a gas line, or heaven forbid killed somebody,” Toby said. “She saved me. If she wouldn’t have caught it, who knows? I don’t even, my mind doesn’t even want to think about what could’ve happened.”

“I just see me in prison,” Kathy said.

Both were glad to see Cannon’s business logo removed from his office, and the building go up for sale.

“All [Toby] ever wanted was the business to be gone so that he can’t do this to anybody else,” Kathy said.

The Texas Department of Insurance website indicates Cannon has no active insurance license at this time.

Cannon was arrested Wednesday and is listed as being in custody in the Travis County Jail as of Thursday afternoon. His bond is set at $7,500, according to court paperwork.

KXAN reached out to the attorney listed for Cannon for comment on this story but we have not yet heard back as of Friday evening.