A Louisiana construction contractor gave an Alford plea on Sept. 4 to filing or maintaining false public records after being accused of over 135 counts of various white collar crimes in several separate parishes. The 41-year-old man maintained his innocence but said that the plea was in his best interest. In an Alford plea, a person can plead guilty without admitting to the criminal act and while continuing to assert innocence. The man, along with his company, Complete Construction Contractors LLC, was accused of insurance fraud, theft, extortion and contractor fraud, among other issues in Livingston, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, St. John the Baptist and Terrebonne parishes.
The man was accused of a number of white collar crimes after he signed contracts with numerous victims of the August 2016 flooding in the area. These clients said that he never performed the work or showed up for the jobs; when they refused to pay for incomplete or shoddy work, the man filed liens on their property. In addition, other subcontractors that took on projects for the company were not paid for their work.
In Livingston Parish, 50 out of 51 charges were dropped against the man, but he agreed to provide financial restitution for the victims and serve jail time. Prosecutors said that they agreed to drop the other charges because they were more interested in obtaining the compensation for homeowners than convictions on multiple charges. He will pay $85,434.30, to be divided among 11 homeowners in Livingston Parish.
When business relationships go bad or companies run into financial trouble, business owners and others can be under intense scrutiny. People who are accused of white collar crimes like embezzlement, fraud or extortion can protect themselves from a criminal record and strive to avoid conviction by working with a criminal defense attorney to challenge the allegations.