An Omaha, Nebraska area house painter continues to face felony theft charges after asking his clients for large down payments and then not doing any work. While the painter has repaid one of the victims, the homeowners involved are learning a costly lesson about paying large sums in cash to a contractor up front.
The painter offered a discount for up-front payment, however, one of his clients only got paint samples, and they all said they got a bucket full of excuses. Earlier this year, he was arrested for “felony theft by deception,” as even by then, more than a year had passed from the initial payment to the non-existent paint job. Homeowners showed the court texts and emails asking when work was to begin and then demanding a return of their deposit, and the answers provided.
The painter said that due to wind and weather, he had been unable to paint the houses, and that in fact most of his customers paid half down in cash.
A statement from the local Better Business Bureau advised customers against paying in cash, “You want some form of documentation related to your payment, and if you don’t pay by credit card or check that’s going to be challenging,” says a spokesman. Once of homeowners reported that they had to spring for another contractor to finally paint the house, meaning not only did they have to pay double while waiting for their money back, but also they missed several months of enjoying the new paint job.
While one county dropped the felony charges after the painter repaid the customers, he still faces those charges in two nearby counties for failure to provide restitution to those clients.