A contractor from Hawley was arrested Friday, following an investigation into a failed home renovation project in Lake Ariel.
Police took Joshua W. Johnson, 39, into custody on charges of Theft by Deception, Criminal Mischief relating to property damage, and receiving payment for a project which was not finished. Bail was set at $25,000.
According to police paperwork, Johnson, owner and operator of Johnson Residential, LLC, was hired in June 2021 to renovate a Lake Ariel residence and attach a single-family addition to it. The project was scheduled to be completed by March 15, 2022.
Problems began to arise in August when police allege Johnson had taken $60,000 to begin the project but was unable to acquire the necessary building permits. The homeowners had to do so themselves. According to the police affidavit, problems such as missed deadlines, failure to order materials and poor communication continued to pile up throughout the fall and winter.
Johnson allegedly received a second $60,000 payment from the homeowners in mid-December.
After struggling to communicate with Johnson, the homeowners made contact in January.
On March 4, Johnson filed for bankruptcy. According to the bankruptcy case file, Johnson owes over $20,000 to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office for insurance fraud. The case file also lists several creditors owed money for breaches of contract, one of which is the owner of the Lake Ariel property.
Police allege the homeowners later discovered Johnson's insurance had lapsed in October 2021, meaning the property was uninsured through the winter. During this time, the report states the house had been gutted and the roof removed.
The property owners reached out to police in March to investigate the matter after they had been advised the house needed to be torn down.
According to the police affidavit, Johnson collected $120,000 from the property owner and only performed around $62,000 worth of work. The estimated cost to tear down the structure is $26,000 plus an approximate $60,000 to hire a new contractor, it states.