Pennsylvania contractors hired to make household renovations or repairs may face serious legal problems if an individual alleges that they failed to perform the agreed-upon work. As noted by NorthcentralPA.com, law enforcement officials filed three work-related felony charges in June 2020 against a 27-year-old Lycoming County contractor.
After paying more than $30,000 in advance for kitchen renovations totaling $61.4K, a local customer claimed the work never started. When the contractor did not show up as scheduled, the customer also found it difficult to contact him. The customer eventually asked for a refund via certified mail, which the contractor agreed to. He allegedly never sent the payment.
Fraud charges related to home improvement work
If an individual hires a contractor and also provides a deposit for services, officials may file felony charges for work allegedly ignored. Pennsylvania’s statutes regarding home improvement fraud, however, require an individual to make an advance payment of at least $2,000 for a prosecutor to allege a contractor committed a third-degree felony offense.
Additional felony theft by deception charges may result
A contractor who allegedly fails to return a customer’s deposit after agreeing to do so may face additional charges. According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s website, a contractor may face allegations of theft by deception in addition to other work-related offenses.
Under the U.S. Code, chargeable untrue statements must generally reflect a customer-and-provider relationship between two parties. To convict, a prosecutor has the burden of proof to show the court that a contractor made a false statement with the intent to deprive the customer of his or her money. If a contractor, however, had to delay the completion of work for a reasonable cause, it may serve as a legal defense.