A contractor in Philipsburg, N.J., this week was sentenced to one to five years in state prison for theft and for not finishing a home improvement job. The sentence also includes a restitution payment of $70,000.

The case began when 46-year-old Brian Barton intentionally underbid on a home improvement project as a way of getting more money, with the entire project costing $90,000. The victim paid Barton an initial $30,000 and once work began Barton continued to ask for more money. He asked for $30,000 for more labor and supplies and then an additional $20,000. At the same time, the work that was being done was not up to code and the victim had to later pay another contractor an additional $14,000 to fix it.

Following the trial, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr., said that this trial, "Sends a message to contractors to be honest in their dealings. I encourage anyone retaining a contractor to check their credentials and get references."

Read more >