Attorneys working to wrap contractor case involving Matthew Morris
GONZALES - A case involving a contractor accused of fraud in multiple parishes could soon be coming to a close if the accused contractor takes a plea. The district attorney's in four parishes are working to bring everyone into agreement so people can move on.
It's been a long couple of years for dozens of people who hired Matthew Morris of Complete Construction Contractors, LLC. The District Attorney's Office in Ascension Parish says there are a couple of things at focus now, which include restitution and jail time for the accused.
"We have 18 victims here and each of them are owed some money," said Ascension Parish Assistant District Attorney Phil Maples. "This is a restitution case for us. This isn't necessarily put you in jail and lock away the key, we'd just like to have our victims feel at least as whole as they could potentially can after this case is over with."
There are few details right now of how the restitution will be played out, but 2 On Your Side has learned that victims involved in the case have been asked to sign a release.
"There will be restitution paid, I believe, between Matt and his insurance company to all of our victims in Ascension Parish," said Maples.
The Ascension Parish District Attorney's Office says most of its victims have moved on, but some are far from a position that they were in before the August 2016 flood.
Courtney Stricklin reached out to 2 On Your Side in February 2017. WBRZ shared her story about her experience with Morris. She may never be whole again, but she can at least see some light.
"Everything's good, everything's back together finally," said Stricklin of her Denham Springs house.
Stricklin used to work for Morris as a production and construction manager. She also signed a contract with his company to work on her flood-damaged house. It was soon after she noticed not much work was getting accomplished at her house. Stricklin says she paid Complete Construction $15,000 to get started and all that was accomplished was a bit of demo work. She also received a large bill for work that was never completed and Morris put a $36,000 property lien on her house.
"I had a lot of headache with Complete Construction, I did finally get the lien removed off of my house," said Stricklin.
Morris, who has maintained his innocence, agreed to lift the property liens he placed against his clients. He's been in jail bouncing around parishes for about a year and a half. Morris is currently housed in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. He faces charges there, in Livingston Parish, and St. John the Baptist Parish. The charges in St. John stem from work Morris did on homes damaged in the EF2 tornado that damaged the parish in February 2016.
There are 18 people who came forward in Ascension Parish, 11 in Livingston Parish, seven in East Baton Rouge Parish, and an unknown amount in St. John Parish.
"I wish we could get our money back and he could do his time but I think everybody is just ready to wash their hands of him," said Stricklin.
Morris' next scheduled court date in Ascension is August 20. Things could change if a deal is worked out before then. Morris cannot apply for another license through the Louisiana State Contractor's Board.