A Springdale contractor has been arrested after a family accused him of taking full upfront payment on a project he failed to finish.
Jason Raymond Mager, 46, of the 400 block of Ridge Avenue, has been charged with two counts of home improvement fraud and theft by deception and involvement in fraudulent business practices.
Mager was released from the Allegheny County Jail after a bail bond agency in Uniontown posted $20,000 bail on his behalf. He faces a preliminary hearing before District Judge David Sosovicka on September 26, according to court documents.
A police officer wrote in the criminal complaint against Mager that a homeowner paid the contractor $3,463 for drainage work and a fence around his property in late April.
Police said Mager violated a state consumer protection law by accepting full upfront payment instead of the allowable one-third.
The homeowner told police Mager had completed the drainage work by mid-May, but told them he was waiting for the fencing material to be delivered so he could complete the project, the complaint said.
The property owners told police that Mager gave them multiple excuses over a two-week period in July for not being able to finish the work, the complaint said.
In a text message, Mager told them he could not get the fencing material because it had been delivered to a deceased friend’s house, the complaint said.
After the homeowners repeatedly arranged for the work to be done and then failed to show up, the homeowners asked Mager to return the $1,132 he charged them for the fence, police said.
The family told police that Mager continued to strain them for several weeks after promising to refund some of the money and make payments on the balance.
They said he didn’t pay, even after he signed a document they drafted agreeing to refund the money in two payments by August 15, the complaint says.
The homeowners contacted police on Aug. 30 and provided them with copies of the agreement along with text messages, bank statements and other documents to support their claims, the complaint said.
Before filing charges, investigators contacted the attorney general’s office, who confirmed that Mager is not a registered developer, the complaint says.
According to court documents, Mager faces a Nov. 7 preliminary hearing before Sosovicka on a July 6 charge of theft by fraud filed by the Allegheny Valley Regional Police Department.
In December 2015, Mager pleaded guilty to a property theft charge filed by Frazer police and was sentenced to three years’ probation, according to court documents.