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Charges: Builders fleeced widow out of hundreds of thousands of dollars

After overcharging her for construction work, one kept swindling her.
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Two building contractors are accused of swindling a Coon Rapids widow out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Nathan Hanson, 42, of East Bethel has been charged with four counts of theft by swindle, while John Born, 37, of Crosslake, has been charged with one count of the same.

As well as overcharging her for contracting work, Hanson is accused of swindling her out of even more money and convincing her to buy properties he could live in.

He is said to have spent some of it on trips to Las Vegas and California, as well as a Harley Davidson and a swimming pool.

One expensive remodel

The criminal complaint states that Hanson and Born were contracted by the victim through their company, AJ Contracting, in 2014 following the death of her husband. She wanted to make improvements to her Coon Rapids home.

During the course of this remodel, the pair told the victim they'd found black mold that would require significant repairs to the interior of their home, which would then need to be repainted.

Subcontractors they hired told her they found many of the repairs were "odd," as they were being paid to remove entire walls, which they said did not need to be done.

Over the course of a few years, the woman paid out $365,337.50 to the pair, of which only $133,242.81 was paid out to subcontractors, leaving just over $232,000 unaccounted for.

Her house, meanwhile, was only valued at $212,000.

Hanson swindled her out of more

The swindle continued during the construction, the complaint states, with Hanson continuing to inveigle his way into the life of the widow – who is not identified in the complaint.

This includes:

– Convincing her to give $90,000 she wanted to move into a different bank account to him safekeeping – which he then spent.

– Convincing her to buy two properties in East Bethel as an investment, moving himself into one of the properties and his girlfriend's relatives into the other.

– Stiffing her on the rent once he moved in there, while some of the payments he did make came from the $90,000 she'd given him for safekeeping.

– Taking $14,850 in rent from his girlfriend's relatives and not paying it to the victim – these relatives were surprised when they were served an eviction notice after a year of unpaid rent.

– Convincing the victim to put a $120,000 insurance payment after a storm damaged her house into a business bank account he'd set up for the both of them – he then spent that, including on the aforementioned holidays.

– The victim ended up having to spend an additional $70,000 to repair her storm-damaged home – none of which came from the insurance payment.

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