Friday, December 09, 2016

Local Prosecutor's Office Uses State AG's Civil Lawsuit As Starting Point In Probe That Leads To Criminal Theft By False Pretenses Charges Against Owners Of Home Improvement Outfit For Allegedly Pocketing Upfront Contract Deposits From Homeowners, Then Failing To Complete Promised Services

In Charleston, West Virginia, The West Virginia Record reports:
  • West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced an investigation by his office led to a three-count criminal indictment alleging a Putnam County roofing company and its owners misled consumers in order to receive money for work never completed.

    Morrisey’s office investigated the case, filed a civil action in July and also worked with the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office.

    The resulting indictment charged David E. Brinegar and Stacy M. Brinegar, along with their company Great Finishes, with felony obtaining by false pretenses.

    “We enforce the law against all companies large and small,” Morrisey said. “If people want to do business here, they have to play by the rules.”

    Morrisey’s civil complaint, filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, alleged Great Finishes and its owners, all of Scott Depot, accepted substantial down payments to replace and repairs roofs without completing the work.

    The lawsuit alleged Great Finishes never returned to complete five roofing jobs for which it received at least $22,964.80 in down payments.

    Those consumers reside in St. Albans, Oak Hill and Dunbar, in addition to Huntington, where a woman paid $9,550.53 for no work and a refund of just 25 percent as of the July filing.

    Great Finishes still owed approximately $15,000 for incomplete work, according to the July complaint.

    One consumer recouped money by disputing the charge with a credit card company, while another did so by filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.

    The lawsuit charged Great Finishes failed to provide a three-day cancellation notice or its contractor’s license number within contracts, failed to complete work by the date promised and conducted business in a deceptive and fraudulent manner.

    Morrisey asked for an immediate injunction to block Great Finishes from doing business in West Virginia and seeks up to a $5,000 fine for each violation of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

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