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An Albertville man with a history of taking payments for home remodeling work that he never carried out has been charged again.

Richard Patrick Wooton, 53, is accused of defrauding more than 40 victims out of over $980,000. He faces one felony-level count of theft by swindle. If convicted, Wooton faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.

He was arrested on Tuesday, but released from custody on Wednesday after his $500,000 bond was posted.

According to the criminal complaint, 35 homeowners were among the victims after they contracted Crossroads Remodeling, LLC for home remodeling projects.

Wooton has a lengthy criminal record including for swindle and theft, and when Crossroads Remodeling was founded in March 2017, a condition of the license stated it was "prohibited from allowing Richard P. Wooton to hold a position of fiduciary, managerial, ownership or supervisory responsibility."

However, Wooton was married to one of the co-owners of Crossroads, and the complaint states he did a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for the company, and would identify himself as the owner to prospective customers.

The complaint states that residents of Wright, Hennepin and Sherburne counties paid Wooton a combined $850,000 for construction projects from July 2017 through July 2018, and failed to receive the work that was promised.

The vast majority of cases involved no work at all being done.

Some of the excuses Wooton would give to homeowners for not getting work done included "some customers allegedly not paying him, that he was too busy, that he had family emergencies, and that other customers were dying from cancer." 

Wooton also told some of the homeowners that he "was a military veteran and was donating some of the money to a veterans' cause."

Wooton has a history of unfulfilled promises to homeowners, dating back to 1999. He was ordered that year by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MDLI) to "cease and desist engaging in work as a residential contractor." The complaint states he took money from two homeowners and was fined in 2000. In 2010, Wooton again took money from a homeowner — $25,000 — and was ordered to pay a fine, which he never did.

Besides the homeowners, many subcontractors and material suppliers hired by Wooton were never paid for their services as well. A total of $481,203.92 is still owed to businesses by Wooton. 

Wooton's criminal history includes:

  • Two counts of second-degree burglary in 1990
  • One count of theft by swindle and one count of check forgery in 1991
  • One count of theft by check and one count of receiving and concealing stolen property in 1994
  • Three counts of offering a forged check and one count of theft by false representation in 2001
  • Two counts of theft by swindle in 2003
  • One count of receiving and concealing stolen property in 2004
  • One count of issuance of a dishonored check in 2011
  • One count of non-payment for improvement in 2012

Wooton will make his next court appearance on July 21.

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