Can the contractor be prosecuted?

Most issues with your contractor must be worked out in Civil Court, and not in the Criminal Justice System. These types of cases are complex and often very difficult to prosecute. The Commonwealth has the burden to prove the following:

  • The defendant (contractor) was paid to have the work completed. This could include a cancelled check, signed credit card receipt, or a cash receipt.
  • The defendant had a fraudulent intent at the time of the payment.
  • The defendant promised to perform the work, usually by possessing a written contract. Unfortunately, many victims fail to obtain a written contract. This makes any prosecution extremely difficult.
  • The defendant failed to perform the work.
  • The defendant failed to return the advance payment within 15 days of the request to do so by certified mail to the defendants last known address or the address listed on the contract.

Valid defenses to the fraudulent intent have included the contractors poor management practices and financial distress, Klink v. Commonwealth, 12 Va. App. 815 (1991).

Subcontractors, who were hired to complete a job, and were not paid, could also be victims of a crime.

Show All Answers

1. What is construction fraud?
2. Can the contractor be prosecuted?
3. If my situation is civil in nature, what can I do?
4. What can I do to protect myself?