WARSAW — A Fort Wayne man was sentenced in four home improvement fraud cases on Monday, Dec. 23.
As a result of the sentences handed down Monday, Jeremiah Donald Lowe, 36, of Fort Wayne will serve 3 1/2 years in the Kosciusko County Jail. Six years will be served on formal probation.
He was also ordered to pay $63,343 in restitution.
In the first case, Lowe was charged with two counts of home improvement fraud. In the second case, Lowe was charged with two counts of theft. In the third case, he was charged with one count of theft and one count of home improvement fraud. A fourth case involving theft and home improvement fraud was dismissed; however, Lowe is expected to pay restitution to the victim.
On April 29, an officer with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office talked with a homeowner who said that on Feb. 5, he entered into a home improvement contract with Lowe, doing business as J. Lowe Contracting, in the amount of $1,020.
According to the homeowner, he gave Lowe a $500 check for materials for the installation of a new gutter. The job was to be completed by April 5. Lowe failed to complete any of the contracted work. The homeowner attempted to contact Lowe with no success.
On July 30, a woman filed a complaint and said that on April 13, she signed a contract with Lowe to have her roof replaced for $9,520. As a down payment, she paid Lowe $7,220, with the remaining $2,300 due when the job was completed.
Lowe told the homeowner the job would take about three weeks. Since the roof was not completed within that time period, the homeowner made contact with Lowe to cancel the contract. Lowe said he would refund the homeowner the deposit.
According to court documents, Lowe still has not refunded the homeowner the remaining balance or completed the roof work.
Details of the other two cases were not immediately available.
Lowe has two more pending cases of home improvement fraud in Kosciusko County.
During his argument to Kosciusko Superior Court 3 Judge Joe Sutton, Kosciusko County Prosecutor Dan Hampton said Lowe has multiple home improvement fraud cases in several Indiana counties, including Wells, Noble, DeKalb and Marshall.
“I ask the court to fashion a sentence where the victims in our local cases can still get restitution,” said Hampton.
Defense Attorney Douglas Lemon said that Lowe had been running his own business for a while, but got behind on work.
“I understand that the victims in these cases are disappointed and upset, but even a couple of them have even said they’re recommending work release as they just want to be paid back,” said Lemon.
Lowe said more criminal cases appeared after his incarceration in August.
“I have mistreated people who didn’t deserve it,” said Lowe.
Sutton noted that Lowe was “taking advantage of a terminally ill man who just wanted a new roof on his home.”
“I pled guilty in these cases because a lot of things did go wrong,” said Lowe. “There was just this snowball effect after my incarceration with cases. It hurts me that the damage I’ve done is happening to all of these families around Christmas. I want to correct all of this as quickly as possible.”
In the first case, Lowe was sentenced to two years in the Kosciusko County Jail, all suspended on formal probation. A portion of his $1,500 cash bond was applied to pay $500 in restitution to one of the victims. In the dismissed case, Lowe was ordered to pay $7,625 in restitution to the victim.
In the second case, Lowe received a five-year jail sentence, with two and a half years executed and two and a half years suspended on probation. For that case, he is expected to pay $43,870 to one victim and $5,628 to the second victim. Sutton ordered his $1,500 cash bond in that case be applied to pay a portion of restitution to both victims.
In the third case, Lowe was sentenced to two and a half years in the KCJ, with one year executed and one and a half years served on probation. He was also ordered to pay $6,220 in restitution.