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Texas man arrested for contractor fraud in Rapides Parish

Posted at 2:51 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 15:51:08-04

ALEXANDRIA, La. — The Rapdies Parish Sheriff's Office have arrested a Texas man for alleged contractor fraud in the Tioga area.

RPSO says that on Nov. 9, 2020, deputies responded to take a report of residential contractor fraud and exploitation of the infirmed that occurred in the Tioga area.

According to RPSO, deputies took the initial report and detectives assigned to the Kolin Substation conducted their follow up investigation.

RPSO say that detectives identified Fredrick Lawrence Fontenot, 45 of Canton, Texas as a suspect.

According to the Residential Contractor Fraud statute, fraud occurs when the contractor “fails to perform any work during a forty-five-day period of time or longer after receiving payment, unless a longer period is specified.”

On Jan. 20, 2021, RPSO says detectives followed up with the victim and the job had still not been completed. Detectives had sufficient probable cause that supported the allegations and warrants were obtained for Fontenot’s arrest in reference to Residential Contractor Fraud < $1,000 and Exploitation of the Infirmed.

Detectives contacted the Canton Police Department in reference to the arrest warrants for Fontenot and on April 15, Fontenot was arrested and booked him into the Van Zandt County Detention Center.

Fontenot was later transported back to the Rapides Parish Detention Center where he was booked on the warrants and later released after posting a $3,000 bond.

Sheriff Mark Wood says he would like to remind the public of these helpful tips that could avoid contractor fraud:

• Be cautious of contractors making unsolicited repair offers—many fraudulent proposals are made by contractors who offer services door-to-door and rush the victim to make a decision.

• Use only licensed and insured contractors – check references.

• Get a detailed written contract before allowing any work to be done. Be sure it includes the total cost, the specific work to be completed, time/payment schedules and any other important details.

• Don’t put too much money down, don’t pay with cash and NEVER sign over your claim check to a contractor. Don’t make the final payment until the job is finished.

• Never sign a contract with blanks or incomplete sections—terms or conditions you didn’t agree to could be added later.

• Always feel free to contact your insurance company if you have any questions or concerns about your contractor.

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