(WFRV) – A homeowner agreed to have around $44,000 of work done to his home but ended up paying over $100,000 to the contractor who spent most of it at casinos and buying things off Google.
According to authorities, 40-year-old Norbert Ortiz was sentenced to five years of probation for Theft by the Contractor. Ortiz will also need to pay restitution for over $70,000.
In Oct. 2019, a resident agreed to a contract with Diamond Remodeling, which is owned by Ortiz. The agreement was to have about $44,000 of work done to his home. The homeowner made payments as the remodel progressed.
Some changes were made to the contract, for which the resident paid a total of $110,497.
After about eight months, progress on the project stalled and the resident told Diamond Remodeling to stop working and return all unused materials and funds. Officers asked Ortiz who said he was 90% done with the project and he did not have any money or materials to return to the homeowner.
Authorities investigated Diamond Remodeling’s accounts and found that Ortiz only spent $39,705 of the money on the remodeling project. Officials determined that Ortiz spent over $61,000 on purchases from Google, restaurants, groceries, casinos, cell phone service and paid himself $38,230 for the work he did.
Ortiz, who is from Beaver Dam, held a valid Trades Credential during this time.
“With the current huge demand for building and remodeling projects, it’s more important than ever for homeowners to check out contractors’ reputation and references,” says Managing Attorney Bob Barrington.