Contractor charged with theft after failing to start roofing job

Luna Ruth

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – A contractor is charged with theft in a business setting after Altoona Police say he cashed a $5,000 check for a roofing job he never started.

43-year-old Travis Farmer was charged in Eau Claire County Circuit Court Tuesday with theft in a business setting, a felony, according to online court records.

According to court documents filed with the charge, an Altoona man contracted Farmer to replace his roof on the recommendation of his neighbor, who used to work with Farmer. Farmer quoted the Altoona man $6,900 on March 12 to do the job and asked for a $5,000 down payment to purchase materials, and the man wrote Farmer a check. The check was cashed a day later. On March 17, Farmer asked for more money to get materials, and the man wrote a second check for $1,500. The man who had contracted Farmer then saw on Facebook that Farmer may have been involved in a theft and also found that Farmer had warrants out for his arrest, and canceled the check. After talking to Farmer, who claimed someone was trying to “slander him,” they agreed to have work begin the following week on the roof.

Altoona Police said in court documents that Farmer never showed up to work the week after, but the two met on March 28, where the man wrote a check for $1,500 to Farmer Construction. However, the check couldn’t be cashed by the bank, so the man contracting Farmer canceled that check and wrote a check for $1,500, the third check in this amount written, on April 1 with the expectation that work begin on April 4. Farmer never returned to the property and no materials had been delivered.

Three weeks later, an Altoona Police officer interviewed Farmer, who was in custody at the Chippewa County Jail, to discuss the checks. Farmer confirmed that the Altoona man had written him three checks for $1,500 but all of them had been canceled. When the officer asked about what happened with the initial $5,000 check, Farmer did not answer and ended the conversation, telling the officer it was none of his business, according to court documents.

Farmer has an initial appearance in Eau Claire County Circuit Court on Wednesday at 11 a.m., according to online court records.

Farmer is in custody in the Chippewa County Jail on a $500 cash bond for a felony charge of possession of meth and has a court appearance scheduled for that charge on June 8. Farmer also has open cases in Eau Claire County for two domestic abuse charges, as well as charges of issuing a worthless check and bail jumping, and is scheduled to appear in court for those charges on June 21, according to online court records.

In 2011, Farmer was charged with felony theft by a contractor and theft in a business setting in Dunn County, among other charges, but most were dismissed. Farmer was convicted of two misdemeanor counts in that case in 2013 and sentenced to two years of probation.

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