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MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — A man is accused of running a contractor scam against multiple residents in Delaware County through Facebook. The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that 41-year-old John Latta has been charged with allegedly taking advanced payment for home repair projects from nine victims and not performing the work.
Authorities say an investigation was launched against Latta in December after an Upper Providence Township resident contacted the suspect through Facebook about getting an estimate for work to be done on her driveway.
According to authorities, Latta arrived at the woman’s home on Nov. 1 and provided a $275 estimate for the work and requested $140 in advance through Venmo. After he was paid, Latta promised to have work done on her driveway the next day, but never showed up. When the victim requested a refund through Venmo, authorities say Latta denied her refund and then blocked her on his social media accounts and refused to answer calls and messages from her.
An investigation revealed that Latta allegedly committed similar fraud to nine total victims in Delaware County, where many responded to his solicitation for work on Facebook.
“John Latta made false promises to do work he never performed, pocketing the money and then disappearing, leaving the victims in this case understandably frustrated, and hundreds of dollars out of pocket,” said District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. “Using social media to reach out to the local community, he took advantage of his fellow residents’ trust, and will be held accountable for his actions. As we believe there could be more victims out there, individuals who believe they may be a victim are encouraged to contact us.”
Copeland recommends that people avoid social media referrals when looking for a contractor.
“Please also remember to never settle for a verbal agreement. Contractors should always provide a written contract, and a representative should visit the property and make notes about services requested,” Copeland said in a statement.
Latta has been charged with receiving advance payment for services and failure to perform, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.
If you believe that you have been victimized by Latta, call 610-891-4851.