DUBOIS – A DuBois business man will stand trial for taking more than $20,000 from a client without completing renovations on her home.
Charles A. Johnson, 58, 26 Harold Bundy Rd., DuBois, is charged with felony counts of theft by deception and home improvement fraud- false statement to induce agreement for home improvement services.
These charges were held to court after a preliminary hearing Friday in District Judge Patrick Ford’s office. Johnson is free on $5,000 unsecured bail.
The charges stem from incidents beginning in August of 2014. According to the affidavit of probable cause, the victim told police she hired Johnson to remodel her upstairs bathroom.
On Sept. 16, 2014 he allegedly requested a $1,000 deposit before he completed the job. He provided her with a sheet to sign that listed his hourly rate and the rate of his workers. Although she signed this, she was never provided with a copy, even after she requested it.
On Sept. 27, 2014 Johnson allegedly delivered a bill for work he completed that he said was necessary for the bathroom to be renovated. She questioned the amount but paid Johnson $1,519.09.
After he completed the work, he again approached her in reference to completing the rest of the home. She felt uncomfortable and told him he was only to do the electric, bedroom floor and bathroom. This renovation was supposed to begin before Christmas but was then put off until after the holidays.
On Jan. 28, 2015 another check for $1,000 was given to Johnson. He allegedly told her at that time he was going to begin the work and it would take approximately 10 days. She and her family went to stay with a relative until the work could be finished. She continuously requested invoices from Johnson but he did not provide her with any.
The victim said she was getting concerned because Johnson had cut off all the electricity and plumbing and was removing the ceiling from the kitchen. He told her that he needed to do this so it could hold the weight of the new bathtub. He also tore up the flooring in the attic and told her this needed to be done to run the wiring.
On Feb. 11, 2015 she went to the residence and saw that Johnson had gutted her kitchen and her furniture was dirty from the work.
Their relationship at this point was strained and he began communicating with her daughter. The only communication she received from him were text messages, saying he would leave and telling her she needed to pay him more money.
On Feb. 12, 2015 he sent her a text allegedly asking for $6,500 for materials and labor. She wrote another check for that amount. She said she did this because she just wanted him to be done so she could move back in the home.
On Feb. 20, 2015 she wrote another check to Johnson in the amount of $870. On Feb. 26, 2015 she met with him and told him that she was worried she would not have enough money to finish the bathroom and kitchen and she needed her plumbing, electrical wiring and bathroom completed. He allegedly told her there would be enough money and not to worry. She then gave him another check for $5,000.
On March 5, 2015 she wrote him yet another check for $5,000 and told him she was running out of money. She contacted her attorney a few days later about the situation and a letter was sent to Johnson telling him to quit working and to leave. On March 12, 2015 she told him to get his things, leave and return the house key.
At this time, he still had not done any of the renovating she requested and she had paid him a total of $21,089.58. She told police all Johnson had done was tear up the kitchen, bathroom and attic to the extent she could not live in the residence.
She stated she had still not received any invoices.
When police spoke with Johnson April 20, 2015 he claimed the victim was crazy and stated she still owed him money for the windows he purchased for the home. He explained she hired him to renovate the bathroom and then she purchased expensive items that would not work for the bathroom. When he told her this, he said she got upset. As he started the project, he discovered that the studs would not support the new appliances in the bathroom. He said he spoke to her and she told him to do whatever he needed to do.
Because of the studs, he said he needed to remove items from the kitchen and he explained this to her.
In March of 2015, she told him to stop working and leave. This surprised him because he said he didn’t know there was any problem. When asked for the invoices, he said he had them at his home. He claimed he had provided her with the original invoice.
He was asked to supply this and a written statement to police. He agreed to do this but when police spoke to him the next day, he said the victim had caused him so many problems that he was no longer going to provide the invoices or a statement. He advised the officer he was getting a lawyer and the victim could try to sue him.