Roofer stole 8k from my parents?

After hurricane Florence, a few contractors came to my parents house (they live on the river so I'm thinking they targeted them for that reason) offering their services, as our house sustained a great deal of damage (specifically the roof). Despite my warnings, they hired a roofer out of desperation and... show more After hurricane Florence, a few contractors came to my parents house (they live on the river so I'm thinking they targeted them for that reason) offering their services, as our house sustained a great deal of damage (specifically the roof). Despite my warnings, they hired a roofer out of desperation and everything seemed fine for a few months. He told them he needed 5 thousand to buy the roof materials, and then an additional 3 thousand a few weeks after. They paid him the 8 thousand, and waited for him to start the job.

He had written on the contract that the work would be completed by February, but by that time he still had not even showed up to start anything. My parents are naive and very trusting, so they worked with him and trusted him while he continued to put it off. This whole time, from the time of hurricane Florence until now, they have been without a roof. Finally, around May, they asked him for their money back and said they wanted to go with someone else because they needed it done ASAP. He refused, saying they broke the contract by telling him they wanted to go with someone else (even though he broke it first by not doing the job). The man sounds like he is on drugs, he is a complete unprofessional mess and yells at my mom every time she asks for his information or money. They saw a lawyer and he basically told them it isn't enough money to go after, but they are in serious financial trouble now and need the money back.

I have no idea what to do, any ideas?
Update: He told them he would pay the money back on June 5th, and it's now almost July. I've cost my parents a lot of money in the past with substance abuse problems and would really like to help them get this money back to help repay them for all they have done for me. If anyone could help direct me in the right... show more He told them he would pay the money back on June 5th, and it's now almost July. I've cost my parents a lot of money in the past with substance abuse problems and would really like to help them get this money back to help repay them for all they have done for me. If anyone could help direct me in the right direction I'd greatly appreciate it.
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