A roofer who cheated on customers in Montrose, Grand Junction, Durango and Summit Counties was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for theft, according to the Colorado Attorney General.
George Harris, who was indicted in 2017, was convicted in the Grand Junction District Court last June on seven cases of theft of criminal offenses. After serving his term, he will be on parole for economic crimes for 10 years and must pay compensation to his victims, many of whom were older adults. His business partner, who pleaded guilty to the theft and acted as a cooperating witness at the month-long trial, will also provide a refund.
“When bad actors – especially those who provide essential services like roof repairs – harass and deceive consumers, they hurt the entire community,” said AG Phil Weiser in a statement.
“Dishonest and misleading companies that break the law and steal from Coloradans will not be tolerated. Those who engage in these illegal business practices must be held accountable. “
Harris, who used his front-line business, East West Roofing LLC, offered prospective clients an initial estimate for roof repairs and requested down payments. He was then unable to complete the contractually agreed roof project. He kept and used the requested funds on personal expenses, including multiple homes, frequent wasteful meals, and anti-aging procedures. Between June 2014 and May 2015, he approved 30 victims worth more than $ 250,000.
The Bill of Rights for residential roofs, which came into force in 2012, obliges roofers to keep customer funds in a trust either until materials are ordered or until a large part of the contractually agreed roof has been completed.
Harris broke that law despite being fully informed of its existence, the Attorney General said. During the process, numerous community members and victims explained how Harris harmed the Western Slope community.
The Criminal Justice Division of the Colorado Department of Law (DOL) received the case from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a nonprofit agency that oversees insurance-related crimes and referred them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation and prosecution.
“This is a clear example of our continued partnership with our member companies in property and casualty insurance and law enforcement agencies to combat roofer fraud,” said Jim Schweitzer, NICB’s chief operating officer, also in a statement issued.
“Unfortunately, we see this type of fraud mostly after a major hailstorm where unscrupulous contractors look for ways to quickly thwart homeowners when they are at risk.
“For this reason, we encourage homeowners to contact their insurance company or their agent if there is any damage to their property and always be suspicious of a contractor trying to get you to sign a contract or with the To start work without giving references. “
The criminal justice department followed up the case. During the trial, DOL attorneys were sworn in as Assistant District Attorneys under the 21st District Attorney, Dan Rubenstein, who provided local assistance during the trial.