Lander roofer charged with taking payments without performing work

(Update on Jan. 10. Hutchings was bound over only on the obtaining property by false pretenses charge.)

By Joshua Scheer, reporter,

(Lander, Wyo.) – A Lander man has been charged with felony larceny after allegedly taking money to perform home construction work and then never performing the services.

Johnnie Lynn Hutchings, 41, of Lander, has been charged with larceny and obtaining property by false pretenses. Both charges are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines each. The case was filed in Lander’s Circuit Court on Dec. 6. It was bound over to the Ninth District Court on Dec. 19.

He will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 10. He remains in custody under a $2,500 unsecured bond.

According to an affidavit written by Fremont County Sheriff’s Detective John Zerga, Hutchings is the owner of JLH Roofing. Lucinda O’Connor and Peggy Richards met with a couple deputies on Nov. 9 to discuss problems with the roofing company. Richards allegedly hired JLH Roofing to add a mud room to the front of her home. The affidavit states that Richards on Aug. 5 paid  Hutchings $9,000 to start the work, with the total project cost being $13,330. The remainder was to be paid upon completion of the work. The proposal was put in writing with Hutchings’s initials.

“Johnnie L. Hutchings was to draw up the plans and deliver them to Cindy O’Connor and Peggy Richards for their approval,” states the affidavit. “This never happened and Cindy O’Connor and Peggy Richards have made several attempts to contact (Hutchings).”

O’Connor kept records of her attempts to contact Hutchings, states the affidavit, noting that he did return a few calls.

“At one point Johnnie L. Hutchings agreed to pay them back the $9,000, but said he could only come up with $2,000 right now,” the court document continues. “Johnnie L. Hutchings never showed up with the money as promised.”

The affidavit states that Zerga made contact with Hutchings on Nov. 13 and asked him about the $9,000. “Johnnie L. Hutchings alleged that they changed their minds on the job and wanted it done in the spring instead of now,” the document states. Hutchings allegeldy told Zerga that he also purchased materials from Menard’s in Casper and later had to return them. He also allegedly agreed to pay back $2,000, which Richards later confirmed that he did.

Zerga also learned of two other cases with the same pattern. Ariel Greene and Mary Greene allegedly paid Hutchings $1,580 to start a roof repair that was never done. Zerga also learned of a another roof repair Hutchings was hired to do for $370 and didn’t complete.

On Nov. 29, the affidavit states that Zerga spoke with a supervisor at the Casper Menard’s who allegedly had no records of Hutchings or JLH Roofing doing any business with the store.