JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado contractor is facing several counts of felony theft after allegedly scamming homeowners through his roofing business.
Jonathan McMillan, 41, is the owner of Lifetime Roofing and Restoration. A grand jury with the 1st Judicial District returned a nine-count indictment against him for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from 17 homeowners between 2014 and 2015. Six of those victims are at-risk adults.
One of the victims, who asked CBS4 not to reveal her name, was contacted by Lifetime Roofing and Restoration in August 2014.
“I was ready for a new roof, so I thought I’ll let them come out and give me an estimate,” she said.
The 76-year-old widower told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann a young man came by her Littleton home and seemed very trustworthy. The company cards showed that Lifetime Roofing and Restoration was accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
“I liked him,” she said. “He treated you like he was your son or your mom and, ‘I’ll take care of you and we’ll make sure this is done right.’”
On what would be the third visit by the company, the homeowner said McMillan came to her house and asked for half of the repair costs upfront.
“And I just wrote a check and gave them $12,500,” she said. “They deposited it that day.”
It is now a check the widow regrets writing.
“I knew better, but I didn’t do better,” she said.
Weeks went by and no one ever came by to fix her roof. She said her calls to the company often went unanswered, and McMillan kept giving her excuses.
“They didn’t have the guys who could do it, they didn’t have the materials,” she said. “[McMillan] had a heart attack and he’d been in the hospital and he had such a sad story.”
The homeowner turned scam victim said it all made her feel “stupid and vulnerable.”
“I’m quite a bit older and you know, you think you’ve lived long enough that you’re wary and you know what’s going on,” she said. “I just got taken in.”
According to court documents, McMillan hired sales people to go door-to-door soliciting roofing business from homeowners with houses damaged primarily by hailstorms. Those employees were instructed by McMillan to have the homeowners sign contracts and collect as much insurance claim payments as quickly as possible. Those checks were then collected and deposited into Lifetime Roofing bank accounts.
Ultimately, the homeowners did not receive any roof or other work from the company, were not refunded and McMillan allegedly kept more than $68,000 collected from homeowners for himself.
McMillan remains at the Jefferson County Jail on a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday. He is also facing felony theft charges in Arapahoe County for similar crimes.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office shared these tips to avoid fraud:
- Take your time, do not be pressured. Ask questions before entering into a large home repair project. All district attorney and law enforcement agencies have fraud units. In the Jeffco DA’s office you can call 303-271-6931 or 303-271-6980 and talk to a person about what things you should consider before entering into a big home repair project.
- Don’t pay large amounts up front, including a check from your homeowners insurance company. Legitimate contractors have credit with suppliers and do not need all the money to start. You may pay a small amount up front, but wait until the project is finished to pay the entire amount.
- Beware of contractors who solicit business door to door. If someone comes to your door you can request information on their business and tell them you will get back to them.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.