Baton Rouge contractor arrested for reportedly committing fraud against flood victim

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge contractor has been arrested after reportedly agreeing to make repairs on the home of a flood victim, and failing to do so.

Joseph Armant, 35, owner of RJ Custom Home & Interior, Inc., was arrested Tuesday, June 6 after a complaint was filed by the Louisiana State Licensing Board of Contractors back on April 19. Officials say Armant entered into a contract with the resident and agreed to make repairs to the flood-damaged house in the amount of just over $112,000.

The homeowner reports making a down payment of $7,000 on August 31, 2016. Then on September 6, the homeowner made another payment of $3,521.74, and on January 2, 2017, paid another $32,500, totaling $43,021.74.

The homeowner claims Armant showed them a document saying he was licensed, but the homeowner because suspicious of this after entering into the contract.

During the course of the investigation, officials discovered Armant did have a business, called J.E.W. Design & Construction, Inc., which held a home improvement license. However, it appears the license number for that business was also used for RJ Custom Home & Interior, Inc. The license for J.E.W. Design & Construction, Inc. reportedly expired back in 2011.

The homeowner claims he contacted Armant in early March, expressing his concerns about the licensing. Armant claimed he would show the homeowner proper documentation, which he reportedly never did. The homeowner then says after Armant failed to provide the proper documents, he issued him a letter stating their contract was null and void. Armant then claimed to have had his license renewed on September 22, 2016, after the initial contract was signed with the homeowner.

Officials also believe Armant altered his license to make it appear it was valid.

Armant was then arrested at the Best Western on Energy Dr. in Baton Rouge. Officials say Armant at first refused to open the door for officers, then struggled with officers as they attempted to arrest him. He was booked in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and is charged with residential contractor fraud, forgery, and resisting an officer.

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