MENOMINEE - A Bark River man was ordered to pay more than $72,000 restitution on a home construction scam, according to a court ruling issued earlier this week in Menominee County.
Jason Bradley Ives, 34, was convicted in May on one count of larceny by conversion $20,000 or more and one count of being an unlicensed residential builder.
The charges stem from a home Ives was hired to construct for Jim and Jeanette Andersen of Bark River in 2010. The home was never completed by Ives, who claimed to be a licensed contractor.
During Ives' jury trial in Menominee County Circuit Court, he was found guilty of the felony larceny charge. He was sentenced in July to 11 months in jail and five years probation.
Ives was found guilty of the high court misdemeanor license count and sentenced to 172 days in jail. He was given credit on both counts for 172 days already served in the county jail.
Ives was also ordered to pay $503 in fines and costs. Restitution was disputed by the two parties.
During a separate hearing on Aug. 16, Circuit Court Judge Mary Barglind considered testimony and trial evidence regarding the restitution. On Monday, she made a final ruling and ordered Ives to pay $72,684 to the Andersen's.
Barglind states in the court document, the crime victims have a Michigan Constitutional right to restitution from the defendant regardless of his ability to pay.
"After a thorough review of the parties' arguments and a thorough review of the exhibits presented by the parties and testimony submitted, the court finds the victims have suffered a loss as a result of the defendant's criminal offense and the prosecuting attorney has met his burden of proof," stated Barglind's ruling.
The restitution includes the purchase of construction materials, the victims' labor costs to finish the home, and reimbursement for rental on a cabin and storage sheds because the home was not competed by the defendant.
"Some of the items included in the receipts were items that the defendant purchased but were damaged due to the significant exposure to the elements and had to be repurchased by the victims," stated the court ruling.
Following his initial July 8 sentencing, Ives filed an appeal against the court's judgment.
Earlier this month, Judge Barglind ordered Ives to pay $10,000 restitution to Cole and Misty Nehring, of Hermansville, who filed criminal complaints against Ives for a home-remodeling project scam.
Ives pleaded guilty last month to being an unlicensed contractor while remodeling the Nehring home. The charge is a high court misdemeanor. He was placed on probation for one year and ordered to pay $205 in court fines and costs.
Ives' guilty plea cancelled a criminal trial to prosecute him on one felony count of larceny by conversion $20,000 or more and one count of being an unlicensed residential builder.
The larceny by conversion felony was dismissed by Judge Barglind in exchange for Ives' guilty plea on the misdemeanor.
In addition, rulings are still pending on state code violations for complaints filed against Ives in connection with the Andersen and Nehring home projects.
Earlier this year, the Department of License and Regulatory Affairs revoked Ives' license, fined him $10,000, and ordered $104,680 restitution for state code violations on a home he partially constructed in Rapid River.
Ives has also served three jail sentences for convictions of larceny by conversion $1,000 to $20,000 related to property scams in Delta County. He was ordered to pay a total of $51,000 restitution to victims in these cases and another $5,000 to victims in a civil suit.
Ives' restitution for property scam incidents in Delta and Menominee counties totals $243,364 to date. Ives' fines and costs total more than $25,000 to date in the two-county area.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org