- Timothy Phelps, a Chesapeake, VA, contractor, pleaded guilty to felony construction fraud and will serve five years in prison after he failed to complete work he was paid to do.
- According to prosecutors, the victims hired Phelps’ company, Timberlynn Construction, to build a garage at their home in Virginia Beach, VA, and paid Phelps $120,000. Phelps abandoned the project after performing only $30,000 of work and stopped communicating with the clients.
- Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick sentenced Phelps to 15 years in prison but suspended 10 years of the sentence, leaving the five he now has to serve. After Phelps is released from prison, he must also pay restitution to his victims.
Phelps, who did hold a Virginia contractor’s license at the time of the fraud, has an extensive criminal history, including charges for multiple counts of petit larceny and obtaining money by false pretenses.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office took the opportunity to remind consumers to protect themselves against fraud by not making full payment to a contractor before the work is complete, insisting on seeing invoices if the contractor asks for money to buy materials, and verifying that the contractor is licensed and insured.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website offers a contractor search page where potential customers can verify that a contractor is licensed and view any previous complaints.
This sentence is the latest in a wave of punishments and penalties for construction professionals who break the law. Last week, a federal court in New York sentenced Patrick White, owner of R & L Construction, Inc., to prison for six months, plus one year of home confinement, for committing payroll tax fraud through his Yonkers-based construction business.