Just this past Friday, a man convicted back in November for grand theft was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.
The accused was charged with creating contracts with clients, accepting payment, and then never beginning any work.
The accused, the chief executive officer of a now-defunct Oakland Park home-remodeling company, was found guilty of a dozen grand theft charges and two counts of extortion after a November trial.
The former head of HomeCo Unlimited was arrested in November 2004, six months after a Sun Sentinel investigation examined complaints by many of his clients who said the company took their money, performed demolition work at their homes, but then stopped work.
Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson also ruled that the accused will be on house arrest with a GPS monitor for two years after he is released from prison and will be on probation for three years. The accused must pay about $37,000 in restitution to his victims.
Since this was a case involving a contractor, the issue at trial was whether the accused intended to steal from the alleged victims. Grand theft requires a showing of intent.
The defense claimed that the work was never performed because the company had run out of money and couldn't pay it's suppliers. The jury believed that the accused's conduct was so egregious, that it was intentional.