Friday, December 09, 2016

Cops Working Dawn Patrol Roust Home Improvement Contractor Out Of Bed, Frog-March Bathrobe & Slippers-Clad Suspect To Jail On 143 Criminal Charges For Allegedly Fleecing 20 Homeowners Out Of $250K+ In Home Upgrade & Remodeling Ripoffs; Most Victims Over Age 60, Leads To Enhanced Charges; Probe Into Add'l Complaints Ongoing, Bail Bond Set At $250K

In Erie, Pennsylvania, the Erie Time-News reports:
  • State and local investigators charge that an Erie contractor who promised prompt and professional service for his clients' home-improvement needs bilked 20 customers out of more than $250,000 in deposits for work he never started or completed.

    Lloyd A. Davis, 59, the owner of LD Construction, was charged [] with 143 mostly felony counts on allegations ranging from false and deceptive business practices to receiving stolen property for keeping customer money without performing work as promised.

    Davis, [...], was brought before North East District Judge Scott Hammer for his arraignment [] wearing his plaid bathrobe and moccasin slippers. He was taken into custody from his residence earlier that morning by members of the Pennsylvania State Police Fugitive Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force, according to investigators.

    Hammer placed Davis in the Erie County Prison on $250,000 bond following the arraignment, noting the number and the seriousness of the charges Davis faces. His preliminary hearing was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1.

    Trooper Susan Edelmann, a criminal investigator with state police Troop E in Lawrence Park Township, charged that Davis took $253,600 in deposits from 20 customers who hired him to do home improvement work between November 2013 to the present, but never started or finished the work. The customers Davis is accused of bilking live in Erie, Wesleyville and five townships in Erie County, according to the criminal complaint.

    The work Davis was hired to do was mainly roofing work and basement, bath and kitchen remodels, Edelmann said. Some of the victims were on fixed incomes, some had to take out loans for the work, some used their retirement funds and some used insurance money related to property damage claims, she wrote in the complaint.

    The customers paid deposits ranging from $2,500 to $28,500. Nine of the customers had their projects abandoned with only a small portion of the work completed, while the other 11 customers had no work done and no materials ordered for their projects, according to the complaint.

    Thirteen of the victims were over the age of 60, increasing the grading of some of the criminal charges related to their cases to second-degree felonies. The charges related to the other seven customers, who are under 60, are graded as third-degree felonies.

    Edelmann also charged in the criminal complaint that Davis made false statements to induce agreements for home improvement services by promoting his business as reputable at home shows and on his website; published false or deceptive advertisements on his website, including falsely stating that his business was a member of the Better Business Bureau of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Builders Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania, when it was removed from both; and committed the crime of criminal use of a communication facility through the use of his business website, social media and a cellphone in doing business.

    Davis is additionally charged in the complaint with three misdemeanor counts of bad checks, after refund checks written to two clients bounced and a third client who was given a refund check learned that Davis stopped payment on it, according to information in the complaint.

    Edelmann said the investigation that led to the charges against Davis began in early October, when the Erie County District Attorney's Office asked state police to look into a complaint originating out of Greene Township. As investigators started looking into it, they unearthed other complaints against Davis that Erie and Millcreek police were investigating, she said. All of the cases were consolidated into the criminal complaint that Edelmann filed [].

    State police have received more complaints concerning Davis and his business, and those are being investigated, Edelmann said after [the] arraignment. Complaints can be reported to Edelmann at 898-4524; to Erie police Detective David Walker at 870-1125; to Millcreek police Detective Ryan Mays at 833-7777; or to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555.
Source: Erie contractor charged in fraud (Police: More than $250,000 in deposits taken, but work not done or finished, state police charge).

See also, Local contractor faces 20 felony counts of fraud.

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