CLEARFIELD – A Philipsburg man found guilty of theft for not finishing a home improvement job was sentenced Tuesday during plea and sentencing court.
Brian T. Barton, 46, 525 E. Spruce St., Philipsburg, was found guilty in February of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, and home improvement fraud.
On Tuesday President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman sentenced him to one to five years in state prison. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $70,000.
Barton’s attorney, Tami Fees, stated that there was nothing on record to determine this amount of restitution and asked for a restitution hearing. Ammerman replied that he had already dismissed a motion for a restitution hearing from Barton’s prior attorney, Brian Jones.
Ammerman noted that he gave Barton a state sentence because of the amount of restitution owed and the damage Barton did to the home.
During the closing arguments of the trial, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. told the jury that Barton intentionally underbid the job in order to get money from the victim. The bid for the entire project was $90,000.
She paid him $30,000 initially. After he did some work, he asked for $30,000 more for labor and supplies. He did some more work and then asked for another $20,000. She was reluctant to give him the full amount because the job was not even half done and instead gave him $10,000, Shaw said.
The work Barton did complete was not up to code and she had to pay someone else over $14,000 to fix it.
A police officer testified that Barton told him he was waiting for the victims to sue him so he could then file bankruptcy.
In an interview after the verdict was announced Shaw said he was “very satisfied” with the result of the trial.
“This is the only justice (the victims) will get out of this whole event,” he said.
He noted that Barton will be put on a payment schedule for the restitution but the victims still “owe a boatload of money to complete it.” The home located in Osceola Mills, is still not livable.
The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act was established because of these “unsavory contractors,” he explained.
“This sends a message to contractors to be honest in their dealings. I encourage anyone retaining a contractor to check their credentials and get references.” Contractors should register and this information is on the Attorney General’s Web site, he said.