Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Contractor faces new fraud claims

A Slidell contractor is behind bars for the second time in six months on allegations he defrauded and stole from Hurricane Katrina victims, Slidell police said Tuesday.

James J. Moore, 47, 175 Meadowmoss Drive, was arrested Monday while he was working on another house. He was booked on two warrants alleging theft over $500, police spokesman Capt. Kevin Foltz said.

The latest arrest came after an Arrowhead Drive resident whose home was damaged by Katrina told police Moore took two payments totaling $15,000 in October to remove the home and its foundation from the property, Foltz said. The homeowner was unable to contact Moore after he removed the home but left the foundation, Foltz said.

Police arrested Moore, who was out on bond after being booked on three counts of theft over $500 in December, after one of the homeowners noticed him working on another home in Slidell, Foltz said.

Moore first came to the attention of authorities in November, after a homeowner in the Palms Springs neighborhood told police Moore had taken about $1,000 in roofing materials the homeowner had purchased, Foltz said. The homeowner had hired Moore to fix the roof of the house, Foltz said.

A few weeks after the first complaint, Moore contacted the owner of Water Tight Roofing and asked that the company purchase $1,800 worth of materials for the Palm Springs job, Foltz said. Moore reimbursed the company with a check but put a "stop payment" on it after the materials were delivered, he said.

In December, the Palm Springs homeowner told police that although Moore had been paid $15,000 for the repairs, he had only completed about $6,000 of the work, Foltz said.

Moore was booked Dec. 18 on three counts of theft over $500 and released on a $2,500 bond, Foltz said.

Slidell police also are investigating another complaint from a fourth person who alleged Moore defrauded him on $250,000 worth of work, Foltz said.