Police: home improvement supplier took $35K but didn’t finish work

Mug shot of Juan Arias provided by the Allen Co. Sheriff's Dept.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A local man with as many as four aliases is facing charges after police said he took money from a homeowner but failed to complete the renovations he’d promised.

Investigators said between September and November of 2012, the homeowner gave Juan Arias 21 checks totaling nearly $35,000 for a remodeling project.

According to court documents, Arias delivered seven handwritten proposals for remodeling under the name “JA Construction” and “JA Painting and Drywall.” The remodeling was to include a new roof, new kitchen cabinets, paint & drywall, bathroom renovations, new flooring, new doors, and new windows. Most of the work was either not completed or was finished but not in a manner that was up to code.

In August of 2013, detectives went the home to investigate and noted the roof was not complete, there was no ridge cap installed, and the back side of the garage roof had not been shingled at all. The front and rear exterior doors had been improperly installed and were wood panel hollow core interior doors that weren’t suited for exterior use per building code. The flooring in the living room had been installed and showed mold & mildew damage from moisture coming through the bottom. A bedroom was partially floored and the tools were left inside the room.

The homeowner told police that Arias began work in September of 2012, would show up sporadically, and never worked a full day. She said Arias stopped working in November and hadn’t been to the house since, despite her repeated attempts to contact him. Arias had cashed all 21 checks.

Police said Arias, 52, also goes by the names of Sefton Bevill, Tony Arias, Steve Bevill, and Raul Cantu.

He faces a Class C felony charge of home improvement fraud.

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