Houston, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: Will the District Attorney take this case

We have been cheated by our contractor. As soon as he received 92 percent of the money he abandoned the project and refused to finish leaving over 50 percent of the work not completed and equipment unpurchased. He also damaged the sewer line by pouring grout in the line costing thousands. He refuses to return our calls.

We researched him at this time and found many other lawsuits for the same offenses, i.e., did not complete the work, poor workmanship, damage to property. Also found numerous reviews, Thief, Do not hire him over and over again.

Can we pursue criminal charges along with these numerous customers who are very, very angry.

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1 Lawyer Answer

Kiele Linroth Pace

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Depending on the AMOUNT of grout poured into the sewer line, there might be a basis to charge him for Criminal Mischief... on the assumption that a professional contractor should know better.

Your chances of a Criminal Mischief might be better if the contractor advertises his competency with projects involving grout, concrete, and/or plumbing. The level of the offense is based on the dollar amount of damage and the prosecution must prove that amount beyond a reasonable doubt. This would probably require an affidavit from the plumber hired to fix the problem along with an itemized bill showing the $ amount of damage.

A charge for the unfinished project seems less likely. If the contractor accepted the money with the intention of doing the job then it could be a civil lawsuit but probably not a crime. It might be difficult (or even impossible) for the DA to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the contractor formed the intent to not do the project BEFORE accepting money to complete it. Not buying necessary equipment may be a red flag, but the DA will have to evaluate all the evidence to determine if it makes sense to pursue a criminal case like Theft by Deception or something similar.

Why don't you just visit the DA's office and ask about it?

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