Provided a Hardwood Flooring company a check for what we were told was for the materials for the flooring. We would pay him the balance when he completed the job. The two weeks after cashing our check he was in contact with us but the day the job was to start he has been missing and will not return our calls. Address on the proposal is not valid another company is in there. After further research it appears he has tons of judgments against him. Would this be considered Theft and if so why can he not be put in jail? If he has that many judgments he should be in Contempt? There has to be some way to recoup some of our money or have him in jail so it does not happen to others.
It sounds like he is judgment proof and so getting another judgment against him would prove an exercise in futility. You can get your money back in restitution in a criminal case. The contractor has committed theft and fraud - he took the money with apparently no intent to do the work. His conduct since then has definitely shown that he has no intention of returning the money to you. So, yes it is considered to be theft and fraud and would be something that you want to report to local law enforcement and the DA's Office. You won't get your money back if he is in jail and depending on the dollar amount and his criminal history, he might not be facing jail. However, in order to get a decent plea bargain, most prosecutors convince defendants to come up with a significant chunk of money in order to avoid a harsher sentence.
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I would absolutely contact law enforcement regarding this fraudulent act. This character needs to face the music and a prosecutor would be quite interested in what appears to be an ongoing pattern of deception and theft.
Mr. Leroi mentioned restitution as a possible avenue of recovery. What is nice about restitution is when people refuse to pay, they face additional sanctions to include incarceration.
Best of luck to you.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
I agree with everything the prior attorney wrote. I would add that if he is a licensed contractor, then there is likely a fund that you can file a claim against to recover some of your losses. The fund will likely require you have a judgment first and have documented your attempts to collect on the judgment.
Information I provide in this forum is not legal advice. The information provided is only general information that may or may not apply to you and may or may not be based on current law. I am NOT YOUR attorney. For specific legal advice you need to contact an attorney and enter into a retainer with that attorney.
First you need to look at the contract itself and see whether it provides for attorneys' fees. I often advise to file both a police report (cannot threaten one, but can file on, ethically), and sue both the company and the individual financial decision makers under the civil theft statutes. A case like this is one of spending some money up front money to see whether he is actually judgment proof. Piece of mind, as no one likes to be ripped off. A lot of people, (and I don't know how, will rack up judgments, and pay them, or otherwise clear them but not have them released ) so they can rip off people with impunity. If the company is judgment proof, but the individuals are not (which is often the case), it may be worth still filing a civil suit. You will need to consult a lawyer who knows this area very well to achieve positive results. I have found that the DA's even if they persecute do not especially take great interest in these cases, and restitution monies are de minimus. I have a client who is still receiving $50 a month payments, and will never be paid back going the DA route.
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