Contractor arrested after admitting to spending elderly customer’s money for repairs

Contractor arrested after admitting to spending elderly customer’s money for repairs

BATCHELOR, LA (WAFB) - A Mississippi contractor is behind bars after taking money from an elderly Baton Rouge man for repairs, never completing the repairs, and admitting to spending the money.

On April 20, deputies with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office became aware of a case where funds from an elderly man for construction repairs to his home were spent by the contractor without making the repairs.

According to the victim, on December 8, 2016 the victim, who is over the age of 60, and Justin Etheridge, 42, of McComb, Mississippi, entered a construction agreement where Etheridge was paid $2,800 for window repairs. The victim told police that as of April 20, the windows had not been installed.

When the victim confronted Etheridge over the incident, he told the victim he had spent the money. The victim also stated to police while attempting to rebuild the kitchen cabinets, Etheridge removed all kitchen cabinet doors and never returned them.

After deputies spoke with the victim, they contacted with Etheridge, who was on the scene according to authorities.

Once advised of his rights, Etheridge admitted to deputies he spent the $2,800 intended for the windows. Deputies say he told them the money was not spent on materials for the victim's home.

Deputies and Etheridge made an arrangement to meet at EBRSO Headquarters on April 24 with the other documentation and invoices showing where they money was spent.

According to authorities of April 24, Etheridge failed to show for that meeting and a warrant was issued for his arrest on April 25.

He was subsequently arrested on May 5 and booked on the charges of contractors misapplication of payments prohibited and theft of assets from an aged person. According to EBR Parish Prison records, Etheridge had a bond set of $15,000 and was released on the same day.

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