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Incomplete repairs net fraud charge

– After paying a contractor nearly $35,000, a Fort Wayne woman was left with moldy floors, an unfinished roof and interior doors installed for the home’s front and rear entrances, court records say.

When Juan A. Arias, 52, agreed in September 2012 to do the work for the homeowner, the list of tasks included a new roof, kitchen cabinets, paint and drywall work, bathroom remodeling, and new doors and windows, a probable cause affidavit filed this week in Allen Superior Court said. Nearly 20 months later, that work is either not finished or not completed in a way that meets building codes, and the home owner hasn’t been able to find Arias since November 2012, court records said.

Arias is charged with home improvement fraud. The charge was enhanced to a more serious felony punishable by three to eight years in prison because the home’s owner is more than 60 years old.

When an Allen County police detective went to the home in August 2013, he found the roof was not complete, including some areas without shingles. The front and rear entrance doors were hollow wooden doors normally used inside homes, the living room floor had mold and mildew damage from moisture that came up through the floor and a partly floored bedroom with tools still strewn about, court records said.

Arias cashed all 21 checks the home owner wrote, totaling $34,765. In the end, the home owner told police she had to hire another company to finish the work Arias was contracted to complete.

He was not in custody Thursday evening. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

cmeyers@jg.net

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