Butler County contractor facing charges for not completing home renovation project in Allegheny County
A Butler County contractor is facing home improvement fraud charges in Allegheny County where police said he did only a fraction of the work at a West Deer Township home that he was paid more than $30,000 to complete last year.
A summons was issues Monday for Austin Reges, 29, of Triple B Landscape and Constructions of Valencia, charging him with theft by deception, deceptive or fraudulent business practices, and home improvement fraud — all felonies.
District Judge Tom Swan issued the summons on Monday after West Deer Township police filed a complaint against Reges on March 9.
Rachel and Corey Lasher and Rachel’s mother, Patricia Cavanaugh, told police that the Lashers contacted Reges in June 2022 and reached an agreement with him in July for a $30,027 project at their home, police said in an affidavit.
Rachel Lasher gave police over 100 pages of text and Facebook messages sent between her and Reges from June through December.
Cavanaugh, who agreed to lend the couple money for the project, gave Reges a cashier's check for $15,000 in July, and a $1,149.66 load of lumber was delivered to the Lasher home later that month, according to the affidavit.
Two contracts that were agreed upon in August included a completed front porch with a roof, railing, steps, soffit and fascia, and a custom front door with side lights, a roof patch and caulking. Later that month, Cavanaugh gave Reges a second check for $15,027, according to the affidavit.
Over the next four months, Reges or one of two of his workers showed up for an average of few hours a day for two days a week, according to the affidavit.
Around the beginning of September, Rachel Lasher started getting annoyed at the amount of work that wasn't getting done and the number of excuses she received from Reges, according to the affidavit.
In December, she contacted HP Starr Lumber Company and a representative told her that Reges received a price quote for the custom door in July, but he didn't order it, according to the affidavit.
As of the end of February this year, the front porch was framed, floor joists and ceiling rafters were installed, but no other work was done on the porch, according to the affidavit. Ceramic tile was laid in the front door entryway, but the tile was laid unevenly making it difficult to open and close the door.
After a standard door was installed, Rachel Lasher said Reges told her the door was temporary and that he ordered the custom door from HP Starr, according to the affidavit.