Attorney General Phil Weiser charges Morgan County contractor with felony theft in pole barn construction investigation
Aug. 3, 2022 (DENVER)—The statewide grand jury indicted Jeremy Carter, 42, of Fort Morgan on 33 counts of felony theft for allegedly taking payments from clients throughout Colorado to build pole barns and failing to complete the projects, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced today.
Carter’s now defunct company, Plains Building Systems, LLC, specialized in constructing pole barns, steel buildings, and post-frame buildings. According to the grand jury indictment, from June 2020 through August 2021, the defendant contracted with clients in Colorado and Wyoming for building projects. Most of the clients, however, received no work or materials despite paying money to the company. A few victims received partial work or materials, but were left with uncompleted work, unpaid contractors or vendors, or liens on their property.
The State’s investigation uncovered evidence that the defendant failed to hold the clients’ money in trust and instead used the funds for business expenses unrelated to their projects, a violation of Colorado’s construction trust fund law, § 38-22-127(1), C.R.S. A person may be charged with criminal theft if they violate the construction trust fund law.
In the end, Carter is accused of taking more than $780,000 from at least 32 victims in 17 counties in Colorado. Most of the defendant’s victims were in rural areas of the state, particularly Northern Colorado and the Eastern Plains. Some victims were in Wyoming.
“We are committed to standing up for consumers and holding accountable irresponsible contractors who violate the law and prey on victims,” Weiser explained. “This case is a credit to local law enforcement, including the District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District and the Morgan County Sheriff, who worked effectively with our office to take this action. Our office is committed to working with rural communities to hold wrongdoers accountable and protect the people of Colorado.”
The Special Prosecutions Unit in the Criminal Justice Section of the Colorado Department of Law is prosecuting the case in partnership with the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
“Many of the victims in this case are upset and have been though a lot financially and emotionally. They placed their trust in the defendant when they contracted with him to build their pole barns and now they feel like they can’t work with other contractors. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Attorney General’s Office to hold the defendant accountable for his alleged misconduct and to bring justice for the victims,” said Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Wiard from the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
“This case is an excellent example of the importance and impact of collaboration between rural and urban law enforcement agencies, not only across Colorado, but other states to ensure the suspect is held accountable for victimizing dozens of people in this scheme,” said CBI Deputy Director Chris Schaefer, whose team provided critical investigative work on the case.
The defendant turned himself in to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and was released on a $100,000 cash surety bond. The case is filed in Morgan County District Court under case number 22CR199.
A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime under Colorado laws. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.