Officials transfer BR contractor accused of fraud and theft to another parish prison

Officials transfer BR contractor accused of fraud and theft to another parish prison

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man suspected of promising to repair homes owned by older residents but doing poor or unfinished work has been transferred from one parish prison to another.

Tanweer Bhatti, 63, was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday for allegedly swindling tens of thousands of dollars from older homeowners in Baker. It was his second arrest in East Baton Rouge Parish. Officials there said he was later taken to the St. Tammany Parish Prison in Slidell for booking. Officials did not state what he is charged with in St. Tammany Parish.

Bhatti was first arrested by the Baker Police Department in October after six homeowners went to police. Since then, police said new complaints have emerged including one in Baker concerning work done in January 2014.

Officials in St. James Parish also issued two new warrants for Bhatti on similar charges. Investigators suspected more could follow in other parishes. When asked if he would refund his customers, Bhatti said he would.

According to the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors, Bhatti's license expired in 2013 and he has been cited for several violations.

In 2009, he was fined after the board found him guilty of operating without home improvement registrations. In 2011, he was fined again after the board found him guilty of doing home improvement work in excess of $75,000.

Last year, the Better Business Bureau failed his business, Southern Siding, due to complaints and his standing with the LSLBC.

Bhatti said all the complaints and charges against him are a civil matter, not criminal.

In addition to the fraud and theft charges, Bhatti is accused of using his client's personal information to take out mortgage loans.  Those accusations are being investigated by the Attorney General's office.  A spokesperson for the AG declined to comment on the case while the investigation is ongoing.

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