Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Man accused of home construction fraud

The name "white collar crime" conjures up images of corporate boardrooms or executive offices, but in fact the category of white collar crimes can encompass a wide variety of working environments. Essentially, white collar crimes include any non-violent crimes committed in commerce for financial gain. It can include workplaces that are traditionally not otherwise considered to be for white-collar workers.

Recently, a Slidell construction contractor was arrested after a Baton Rouge homeowner accused him of taking almost $50,000 for home improvements he never made. He faces charges of fraud and theft.

According to news reports, the homeowner hired the man to make repairs to her flood-damaged home. The parties reportedly signed a contract back in October, and the homeowner said she paid him $49,500. It was unclear from press reports how much of the work the man performed, but the homeowner said he left the work unfinished. She said that at the time she reported the man to the authorities in mid-March, she had not heard from the contractor since Jan. 25.

It's quite common for relations to sour when one party hires another for contract work, in construction and other industries. However, there is a big difference between a bad working relationship and a criminal investigation. A contractor found guilty of fraud could face heavy fines, possible jail time and other penalties. Even after getting through that, a convicted party could lose a professional license and face greatly reduced earning potential in the future.

It's important for those who are accused of fraud and other white collar crimes to seek out help from a criminal defense attorney with experience in this type of case. White collar crime cases can be highly complex, and the evidence and issues involved can be quite different from other types of criminal cases.

Source: The Advocate, "Slidell man accused of home improvement fraud in Baton Rouge," March 23, 2017

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