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More victims come forward, Matthew Morris case grows

8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago Monday, March 20 2017 Mar 20, 2017 March 20, 2017 5:30 PM March 20, 2017 in On Your Side
Source: WBRZ

GONZALES - A hearing to revoke the bond for Matthew Morris of Complete Construction did not happen Monday, Judge Jessie LeBlanc continued the motion and it has not been rescheduled.

More victims continue to come forward. The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office says another victim who hired Complete Construction filed charges with the office Monday.

"We still have charges pending in Ascension for several other victims," said Sgt. David Baldwin, who says this is the biggest white collar case his department has ever worked.

There is plenty of evidence to sift through and APSO says it could be working on this case for another month or two.

"The sheer number of victims, the amount of money that was lost, the multi-jurisdictions that it encompasses," said Baldwin.

Morris remains locked up in Livingston Parish where a district judge set a $780,000 bail. Morris faces additional charges and does not have a bond set in Ascension Parish. He'll remain in Livingston until another motion is filed to bring him back to court to set a bond or reduce the bond.

Morris, who maintained his innocence to WBRZ cameras in February, faces dozens of charges. People who hired Complete Construction to do work on their home following the August flood want to know where their money is.

Ascension Parish Assistant District Attorney Philip Maples says the question can't be answered just yet, but he's getting ready to dive into Morris' growing file.

"I believe if there's any financial records they may be in the computers and I'll take a look first thing," said Maples. "Until I get that file and look through it myself I have no idea if he's got money in bank accounts here or anywhere else."

Morris had many open contracts, to which he'd been paid in return for services. Sheriff Jeff Wiley said he's listened to first hand accounts from people who put their trust and money into Morris' work.

"Our goal is to hold Mr. Morris accountable and to try to accommodate the victims as best we can," said Wiley.

The Sheriff says the case is so large, a multe-jurisdictional meeting was held last week about Morris at the Louisiana Sheriff's Association, initiated by East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore. Other DA's were in attendance, too.

Wiley says he's "skeptical" given the enormity of the situation, but hopes as this case unfolds that there is some "real attention and real efforts made by both sides to make some of these people whole."

Amid the investigation, Wiley says it's important to acknowledge that the contractor industry is a clean, proud industry. He says it takes just a few in an impacted area to tarnish a good thing.

"The reputable contractors may be frustrated that this is a broad brush and it's really not," he said. "Our goal is to have the public let us know who they are and do what we can to investigate them and bring them to justice if they need to be."

While victims continue to come forward, many who hired Complete Construction remain in a holding pattern after Morris or subcontractors hired by Morris placed liens on their homes. Two On Your Side spoke to one alleged victim who successfully removed the victim from her property. The sheriff's office is asking victims to file charges if they have not already.

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