More charges for contractor accused of scamming flood victims
GONZALES – Deputies in Ascension Parish report that more charges were filed against a contractor accused of scamming flood victims.
Authorities say 39-year-old Matthew Morris is accused of scamming at least 13 flood victims throughout the Baton Rouge area.
Morris allegedly ignored multiple requests for estimates and only offered inflated estimates after demolition had already been completed. Some of the estimates were two-thirds the cost of the victims' entire insurance payout.
Investigators later learned that Morris charged victims for services that had not yet been started or completed.
Whenever the victims terminated their contracts, Morris mailed bills for thousands of dollars for "claim assistance" fees in addition to 50 percent of the total estimate of the job.
Morris is charged with two additional counts of residential contractor fraud, theft of assets of aged persons, two counts of prohibited activities and sanctions, two counts of engaging in business of contracting without authority prohibited, nine counts of filing or maintaining false public records and six counts of misapplications of payments.
Morris was previously arrested on Feb. 8 and submitted a $63,500 bond and was released from the Ascension Parish Jail on Feb. 10.
After his release, detectives learned that Morris secured credit lines at a local bank while using false receivables as collateral while he was in the Ascension Parish Jail, according to the sheriff's office. As a result, his bond was revoked and he will remain in the Ascension Parish Jail.
Detectives are investigating further complaints that have been filed against Morris and more charges may be pending, according to the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.
Multiple agencies, including Baton Rouge Police, Walker Police, Denham Springs Police and Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, have filed similar fraud charges against Morris.