Police often get reports from homeowners that they hired a contractor to do work on their homes, paid the contractor an initial fee to do the work and then the contractor quit the job without completing the work. Sometimes, the police will ignore the complaint and tell the homeowner that it is a civil matter that must be handled with a lawsuit. Other times, the police will pursue the complaint and arrest the contractor for grand theft.
These contractor disputes can be a misunderstanding as to the cost of the work and materials or some other honest mistake that has delayed or inhibited the work that was promised. In those cases, a grand theft charge is not appropriate. Other times, a contractor will take a person’s money, promise to do the work and just not do it. These cases can be the basis for a legitimate grand theft charge.
In a recent grand theft case involving a contractor near Jacksonville, Florida, the homeowner hired the contractor to replace her cabinets. They agreed on the plans, and the homeowner paid him $4,000 for the work. The contractor made promises about the work he would do and that he would get the materials and start promptly. After she paid him, the contractor was difficult to get in touch with, did not come by the house often and only worked on the project periodically. After a couple of weeks, the contractor never returned to the house to finish the work. She tried to contact him by letter and email, but he did not respond. Police looked into the contractor’s bank records which showed that he deposited the homeowner’s check and then wrote some checks for matters unrelated to the work to be done on her house.