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HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANY AND OWNER SENTENCED IN THEFT BY CONTRACTOR AND UNFAIR HOME IMPROVEMENT TRADE PRACTICE CASE

 

Ross Schlomann and R Construction Ordered to Pay over $38,000 in Restitution

 

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Ross Schlomann of Appleton and Schlomann's company, R Construction of Kaukauna, were convicted and sentenced by Outagamie County Circuit Court Judge Nancy Krueger on one count of felony theft by contractor and one misdemeanor count of unfair home improvement trade practices. The proceedings took place on December 11, 2008, in the Outagamie Justice Center.

 

"Contractors and corporations will be prosecuted when they violate their duty to consumers of home improvements," said Van Hollen.

 

In November, 2005 Mr. Schlomann and R Construction entered into a $55,250 home improvement contract with a Menasha couple promising, among other things, to provide home improvement services including materials and labor within 90 days. The couple made an initial down-payment to defendants, and work on the home began in February, 2006. However, the defendants failed to pay subcontractors for the work, despite being paid $45,000 by the couple in subsequent payments. Further, Mr. Schlomann and R Construction failed to give the couple lien waivers, as required under Wisconsin law, for the money that was paid to them. Work on the couple's home slowed and later halted and eventually the subcontractors filed liens against the couple's property for lack of payment by Mr. Schlomann and R Construction.

 

Mr. Schlomann was sentenced to 3 years probation with the condition that he pay $38,764.17 in restitution. Additionally, Mr. Schlomann is barred from working in a home improvement or home construction setting during the course of the sentence. Furthermore, the court also stipulated that it would prevent Mr. Schlomann from accepting any money or anything of value in the context of work done in home improvement or home construction. The court withheld any further sentence, pending Mr. Schlomann's completion of probation and the conditions imposed. Judge Krueger warned Mr. Schlomann that failure to meet the conditions of probation may result in imprisonment.

 

The case was investigated and referred to the Department of Justice by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

 

"I want to commend the outstanding work done by the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection in this case," said Van Hollen. "Their hard work laid a strong foundation for the prosecution of this case."

 

Consumers that have experienced similar problems and interested members of the public are encouraged to contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or via e-mail at hotline@datcp.state.wi.us.

 

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Eric Dfort and Nelle Rohlich.