Accusations against a Baton Rouge man claim he committed home improvement fraud after failing to complete repair work on a home. The man now faces charges for the fraud and felony theft.
The 57-year-old man was reportedly hired to repair the roof of another man's home. The 76-year-old homeowner suffers from dementia, according to his daughter. Police authorities allege that the man supplied a written estimate to the homeowner which included the requirement that building materials be supplied. The man began and completed a portion of the repair work before requesting payment for half of the job. The homeowner issued a check which was later cashed. Allegedly, the man then left the residence, leaving the job unfinished and bringing the building materials with him. The reported financial loss totaled $612.91. Authorities arrested the man for home improvement fraud and felony theft.
Theft is a broad term used to describe crimes that involve taking another's property without their permission. There are multiple degrees of theft depending on what type of property was taken and how much the property was worth. Petty theft occurs when the property value lies below a certain amount set by law. Grand theft occurs when stolen property is worth more than the specific limit for petty theft.
A number of defenses are available to defendants facing theft accusations. Intoxication or entrapment are two possible defenses, for example. While return of the stolen property generally does not constitute a defense, alleging the property was only being borrowed at the time instead of taken without intent to return is a common theory. Additionally, a good faith belief that the property actually belonged to the defendant is a valid defense.
Convictions on felonies often result in long-term consequences. Establishing a solid defense can be crucial to protecting a defendant's rights throughout the criminal process and making certain all requirements are fulfilled so an individual is not wrongly accused or convicted.
Source: WAFB, "76-year old with Dementia victimized by home improvement fraud, felony theft," Oct. 15, 2014