LEBANON, Ind. – A 40-year-old Crawfordsville man is facing charges after reportedly scamming a homeowner out of nearly $100,000 worth of construction work in 2021.
Johnathon R. Manco is the reported owner of Diverse Construction Solutions LLC in Crawfordsville. According to Indiana business records, the company wasn’t registered (active) until March 4, 2022.
The previous business filing expired in 2014.
Court documents said on April 11, 2022, a Lebanon homeowner filed a report with police of potential fraud. The man stated that he hired Manco for a construction project on his property in October 2021.
The project was broken down into three phases per a contract signed by both parties. The total amount agreed to was $98,419.63.
The first phase was to consist of a combination of excavation to grade, footer and foundation construction. The contract added that it would be active for 90 days after the date signed: Oct. 20, 2021.
According to the probable cause, the homeowner paid Manco over $118,000. The funds included payment for blueprints, deposit, expenses and the remainder of the balance due.
Manco had told the man the additional charges over the original $98,000 agreed upon were for expenses. The homeowner said he requested receipts for the work being done but never received adequate documentation.
In April 2022, Manco emailed the man expense reports that didn’t match up with the funds being requested. At that point, only phase one of the project was complete.
Investigators said the pictures provided for the concrete forms installed would not be adequate for the amount needed to complete the project. The man said he then removed Manco from the project after being asked for an additional $35,000 for expenses.
The homeowner’s wife told police that Manco had a history with drugs and was worried he would leave town after learning they were cutting ties from the project. She was afraid the couple might lose the $118,000 paid upfront.
Officers got two quotes from other local construction companies for the project. One Mooresville company provided an estimated $128,000 for the full project when completed. A second estimate had a total of $130,000 to complete the full project.
When questioned, Manco never was able to give investigators a reasonable explanation for the massive differences in costs and work completed for the project.
Manco was charged with fraud and theft, both Level 5 felonies.
He faces between one to six years in prison for each count and a fine of up to $10,000.
A jury trial was scheduled for Jan. 29, 2024.