116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Montana man who swindled a Cedar Rapids homeowner out of more than $15,000 in derecho repairs to go gambling instead has been sentenced to over a year in federal prison and up to 180 days in a halfway house upon release.
William Allen Hurlbut Jr., 57, of Belgrade, Mont., was convicted in February of one count of mail fraud. He admitted to duping homeowner Wayne Jones into signing a contract and advancing the cash to him in September 2020 for siding and roof repairs.
The Aug. 10, 2020, derecho had caused damage to Jones’ roof, siding, fences and the interior of his home, according to court documents. Jones was in a wheelchair for physical disabilities and depended on Hurlbut’s promised work.
But instead of repairing Jones’ home, Hurlbut took the insurance funds advanced to him by Jones and used it to gamble and pay for personal items and expenses.
As part of the scheme, Hurlbut made purchases at a home improvement store but then return the items and pocketed the cash. The fraud continued through March 2021, according to court documents. The investigation revealed that, over a two-week period in October 2020, Hurlbut spent at least $22,532 while gambling at the Riverside Casino & Golf Course.
On Jan. 25, 2021, Hurlbut ordered a tow truck to take Jones’ vehicle from the backyard to a junkyard without purchasing it or getting his permission. In February 2021, Hurlbut persuaded Jones to loan him $1,000 for lodging and food, which Hurlbut never repaid.
By March 2021, Hurlbut had performed little to no work on the project despite the cash advance.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams sentenced Hurlbut to 14 months and 12 days in prison, which represented the amount of time he has already spent in federal and state custody since his arrest, and up to 180 days in a halfway house upon his release.
He must serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, and was ordered to pay $15,893 in restitution to Jones.
Hurlbut is being held in the U.S. Marshal’s custody until he is released to the halfway house.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; email@example.com