TPSO Press Release- March 27 - Contractor Fraud
HAMMOND, LA – (March 27, 2018) – Last week, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office Financial Crimes Unit lead by Detective Travis Pitman arrested two individuals for committing contractor fraud in our parish. Although the cases were non- related, the charges equate the same – FELONY!
Early last week, Detective Travis Pitman began investigating three separate cases involving Home Improvement Fraud at three separate locations, 2 in Hammond area and one in Ponchatoula. Ironically, two of cases ended up having one thing in common, a local contractor 42- year- old Ponchatoula resident, Allen Hotard. Hotard failed to complete work at the Hammond residences after he was paid a sum totaling over fifty thousand dollars.
After a lengthy investigation into each two cases, Pittman secured search warrants on Hotard’s bank records and conducted financial forensics on monetary records. His efforts resulted in Hotard being arrested on 2 counts of L.R.S.14:202.1 Relative to Home Improvement Fraud.
Subsequently, Hotard at the direction of his attorney, turned himself into the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office and was booked accordingly.
In the third case, Detective Pittman discovered that 38- year-old Trevor Jones of Ponchatoula, kept in excess of seven hundred dollars in construction materials from a Ponchatoula resident after being paid fifteen hundred dollars and neglecting to complete the work.
After examining evidence to include receipts and monetary instruments used to pay Jones, Detective Travis Pitman obtained an arrest warrant for L.R.S.14:67 Relative to Felony Theft against Jones. At the time of the investigation, Jones also had four other outstanding failure to appear warrants ranging for charges to include possession of illegal narcotics to unpaid child support.
Jones was subsequently located on March 19, 2018, by TPSO Lt. Corey Michelli and members of the Criminal Patrol Division at a l residence on Thunder Road, in Ponchatoula where he was taken into custody without incident.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office will continue to investigate complaints involving any person(s) who target residents of the Parish by receiving payment for work/construction and failing to perform the work. Recent disaster and flooding has pressed residents for the need of contractors to perform major repairs and work on their homes causing a shortage of skilled and qualified contractors. It is a good idea to check on the State Contractors Board website and verify the person who you are considering to hire are in good standing and have the proper credentials to perform the work.
Anyone seeking advice and information relative to contractor fraud/home improvement fraud can call the Financial Crimes Unit with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office at (985) 902-2031.