The owners of a Fort Worth roofing company have been indicted on allegations that they bilked 27 North Texas homeowners — including a Fort Worth police officer — out of more than $100,000 for work that they never started.
The indictment alleges that the scheme by the company, which is no longer in business, lasted from May 2011 until August 2012.
A Tarrant County grand jury returned the indictment against Raul Garcia Jr., 40, of Fort Worth and his wife, Melissa Garcia, 39, a few weeks ago, charging them with theft of $100,000 to $200,000.
Convictions on the theft charge would carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
“We are in the very early stages of investigating this,” Samuel Terry of Fort Worth, Raul Garcia’s attorney, said Friday. “I don’t believe his intention was to deprive people and hide their money. He filed for bankruptcy last year to get repayment started. I don’t believe there’s a criminal case, but he was a bad businessperson.”
Even before the indictment, Raul Garcia faced theft and misappropriation-of- funds charges in Dallas and Denton counties related to his roofing business.
The company was known as R&A Construction but also went by R&M Construction and R&M Contracting, according to the Better Business Bureau Fort Worth website.
Raul Garcia “came just after a storm hit us,” Rosa Rangel of Grand Prairie said in a telephone interview Friday. “I met him first and then I met his wife. I filled out all the paperwork, and once I got my insurance check, I signed it over to them and expected to have a new roof.”
Rangel, whose roof sustained hail damage in summer 2012, said the insurance check of more than $3,500 was cashed even though the work was never done.
Rangel said her daughter, Konni Lynn Snyder, paid for roof work on two houses that was never done.
The indictment identified 25 other residents, one of whom was Fort Worth police Sgt. Delbert Johnson.
Johnson said Friday that his roof sustained hail and wind damage in summer 2012 and that a fellow officer recommended Raul Garcia.
“He came out and estimated the repair at $4,500,” Johnson said. “He said he needed to be paid half to get supplies. I didn’t know him, but because another officer had recommended him, we gave him a check for half the cost. He went straight to the bank and cashed it.”
Johnson said he never saw Raul Garcia again.
“I tried calling the phone number he had, but no one answered,” said Johnson, who has taken Raul Garcia to small-claims court. “I got angry again last night when I saw the news and saw that an elderly couple also had lost their money when they didn’t get a roof. These people are on fixed income.”
The investigation continued Friday.
“The economic crimes unit is working diligently on this case, which is voluminous and far-reaching,” said Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office. “It involves more than two dozen victims — many of them elderly. However, because this case is pending, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Poor business rating
The BBB’s Fort Worth office gave the company an F rating, noting that the couple had failed to respond to 14 of 17 complaints. Raul Garcia Jr. was listed as the owner and his wife as the office manager.
The company listed its services as roofing, tile work, painting, granite and concrete.
The business started on Feb. 20, 2003, and the BBB office received information that it closed in September 2012.
The Garcias filed for bankruptcy in Fort Worth last year, claiming they had $16,438 in assets and owed $246,483.79, according to federal court documents.
Some of the people identified in the indictment were also listed in the court documents.
Raul Garcia was indicted by a Denton County grand jury in November 2013 on a charge of misappropriation of fiduciary funds, $1,500 to $20,000, and has a court hearing next month in Denton.
He also faces a charge of theft of $1,500 to $20,000 in Dallas County, according to court records.