IOWA DERECHO 2020

Cedar Rapids man took derecho repair jobs and money, but did not do the work, police say

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man faces multiple counts of theft after authorities said he took money for multiple derecho repair jobs and never followed through with the repairs.

According to the criminal complaint, Wayne C. Gott, 37, is charged with two counts of first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree theft after he “engaged in a pattern of thefts by deception by entering agreements to perform substantial home repair work for four complainants after the August derecho.”

Cedar Rapids police said they began receiving complaints about Gott in November.

The first was Nov. 25, when a woman reported that she had signed a contract with Gott, who was doing business as Construction Plus.

The contract was signed Sept. 16, and the victim wrote a check for $12,751.50 to repair her back porch and retaining wall.

The job was started but not finished, police said.

Police said Gott also didn’t use treated lumber as required by Cedar Rapids building code.

On the same date, police said, another individual reported signing a contract with Gott on Oct. 3 and paying him $24,580.58.

The complainant told police Gott had not performed any work, had not provided any materials, and had refused to provide a refund.

An investigation determined that Gott used that money to buy a van for $10,000 and withdrew $8,500 in cash.

A few weeks later, on Dec. 4, police said a third individual reported that he paid Gott $7,500 to replace plywood, remove and replace a roof, and replace a garage door.

Police said Gott did not tear off the roof, but rather shingled over the existing shingles and did not finish the job.

The agreement between the homeowner and Gott was verbal, police said.

A week later, on Dec. 11, a fourth individual reported giving Gott $3,477 for fence replacement.

Police said the individual signed a contract Sept. 14, and the work was supposed to start Oct. 5. Gott, however, never started the project, never provided the materials and refused to give a refund, police said.

Police said investigators attempted to interview Gott, who claimed it was a civil issue and the signed contracts had no completion dates.

Police said Gott agreed to meet with investigators Dec. 21, but when the day arrived said he was ill. He promised to electronically mail documentation, but never did.

Based on the investigation, police concluded that Gott did not do most of the agreed-upon work, and did it poorly when he did. Police said he also failed to provide materials in two of the four cases and did not provide proof of materials purchased in all four cases.

Additionally, police said Gott refused to refund the customers, and bank records indicate he used a significant portion of victims’ money for personal purchases.

Gott was arrested Jan. 27 on charges of possession of a controlled substance-marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Police said officers found Gott in his vehicle outside his home when they went to pick him up on the theft warrants. During the arrest, officers found marijuana and two glass pipes.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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