Ohio AG Investigation Leads to Indictment of Union County Builder

December 16, 2005

A Union County Grand Jury has indicted a Richwood, Ohio builder on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and multiple counts of theft, money laundering and telecommunications fraud, Attorney General Jim Petro and Union County Prosecutor David Phillips announced.

Dennis Landon, who operated Landon Building Systems, allegedly defrauded at least 27 victims from 11 Ohio counties and four other states in a home-improvement scheme from February to August 2004.

The 59-count indictment includes the single charge for violating Ohio’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a first-degree felony; 21 counts of theft, all fifth-degree felonies; 4 counts of grand theft, felonies of the fourth degree; a count each of grand theft and theft (with enhancement as theft from an elderly person), felonies of the fourth and third degree; 26 counts of money laundering, all third-degree felonies; and five counts of telecommunications fraud.

“Landon required his customers to pay a deposit equal to 25 percent of the bill before any work was done,” Petro said. “In most instances, he failed to do even 25 percent of the contracted work if he did any work at all.”

Landon subcontracted much of the work to install his pre-manufactured pole barns and garages, but reportedly failed to pay for the labor and materials. As a result, many of the subcontractors placed liens on some of the customers’ homes.

“Because the work was shoddy or incomplete, the customer would have to pay additional money to someone else to complete the job. In many of these cases, the victims got nothing for their money,” Phillips said. “We have issued a warrant for Mr. Landon’s arrest.”

While several of Landon’s customers have secured judgments against him, he has not paid any refunds for the incomplete work. Petro said the victims referred to in the indictment lost approximately $108,000 to Landon.

Of the 27 victims, six are from Union County; five from Marion County; two each from Crawford, Logan and Morrow counties; and one each from Auglaize, Champaign, Delaware, Franklin, Medina and Wyandot counties and the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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