Accused fraud contractor arrested by Walker Police Department
WALKER - The contractor accused of fraud in Ascension, Livingston, and East Baton Rouge Parishes has been charged again by the Walker Police Department.
Walker Police obtained a warrant for Matthew Morris' arrest on charges of residential contractor fraud, contractor misapplication of insurance payments, insurance fraud, and extortion.
According to Walker Police Captain John Sharp, Morris contacted a resident of Walker to repair damages to a home on Jessica Drive. A contract between the homeowner and Morris required the homeowner to pay his $1,255 insurance deductible. The contract also required Morris work directly with the insurance carrier and send work invoices directly to them. After the contract was signed and Morris received the homeowner's payment, Morris gutted the damaged home.
Walker Police say the contract called for Morris to be paid about $70,000 to repair the home. After the home was gutted, police say Morris told the homeowner he had to agree to change the contract in order to receive "premium upgrades."
"Through threats and intimidation," Captain Sharp explained, "Mr. Morris was able to increase the contract price from $69,915.38 to $244,532.39" Police say the homeowner told them the home was valued at $180,000 before the flood.
Once the contract price was changed to accommodate the upgrades, police say Morris stopped home on the work. They say the homeowner unsuccessfully tried to contact Morris multiple times.
"It wasn't until a news story aired about Morris' arrest in Ascension Parish for Contractor fraud that the homeowner realized he had been defrauded," Walker Police Chief David Addison said. He says the homeowner contacted the insurance carrier, told them to stop paying Morris' invoice, and then contacted police.
After receiving the homeowner's complaint, Walker Police say they learned that in addition to his Ascension Parish arrested on more than a dozen contractor fraud claims, Morris was also a suspect in similar complaints with Baton Rouge Police, Denham Springs Police, and with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
Morris surrendered to authorities on Tuesday in connection with the contractor fraud claims against him in East Baton Rouge. He was then transferred to the Livingston Parish Detention Center and was booked on the Walker Police Department's charges, as well as charges from other Livingston Parish law enforcement agencies.
"We are extremely pleased that Mr. Morris is in custody," Chief Addison said. "We promised the public that we would do everything possible to bring to justice anyone who used the flood as an opportunity to take advantage of our residents and we intend to honor that promise. Our Officers are continuing to work on other contractor fraud cases and we are looking forward to more arrests in the near future.
Morris was the owner of Complete Construction Contractors, LLC. His bond from Ascension, Livingston, and East Baton Rouge Parishes is currently set at $885,000. His bond from Walker Police has not been set.