An Albertville man who had a history of taking payments for renovations he never did has been charged again.
Richard Patrick Wooton, 53, is accused of defrauding more than 40 victims out of over $980,000. He faces charges of theft by fraud. If convicted, Wooton faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
He was arrested Tuesday but released from custody Wednesday after posting his $500,000 bail.
According to the criminal complaint, 35 homeowners were among the victims after hiring Crossroads Remodeling, LLC for home remodeling projects.
Wooton has a long history of criminal convictions, including fraud and theft, and when Crossroads Remodeling formed in March 2017, a condition of the license stated that “Richard P. Wooton was prohibited from holding any position of trustee, manager, owner or supervisor bear responsibility.”
However, Wooton was married to one of Crossroads’ co-owners and the complaint said he did a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the company and would pose as the owner to potential customers.
The complaint states that residents of Wright, Hennepin and Sherburne Wooton counties paid a total of $850,000 for construction projects from July 2017 to July 2018 and did not receive the promised work.
In the vast majority of cases, no work was done at all.
Some of the excuses Wooton gave homeowners for not getting the job done included “some customers who said they weren’t paying him, that he was too busy, that he had family emergencies, and that other customers were dying of cancer.”
Wooton also told some homeowners that he “is a military veteran and would donate some of the money to the veterans’ cause.”
Wooton has been making unfulfilled promises to homeowners since 1999. That year, he was ordered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MDLI) to “cease and cease work as a contractor.” The complaint said he took money from two homeowners and was fined in 2000. In 2010, Wooton again took money from a homeowner — $25,000 — and was fined, which he never did.
In addition to the homeowners, many of the subcontractors and material suppliers that Wooton hired were never paid for their services. Wooton still owes the companies a total of $481,203.92.
Wooton’s criminal history includes:
- Two second-degree burglaries in 1990
- A fraud-by-fraud case and a check-forgery case in 1991
- A census of theft by check and a census of obtaining and concealing stolen property in 1994
- Three counts of offering a forged check and one count of theft by providing false information in 2001
- Two cases of theft by fraud in 2003
- A census of obtaining and concealing stolen property in 2004
- A count of the issuance of a canceled check in 2011
- A number of non-payments for improvements in 2012
Wooton will make his next court appearance on July 21.