Contractor Ronald Stratton faces up to 140 years in prison if convicted of grand theft charges filed Monday by Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas.
Stratton already faces $195,000 in penalties and restitution for violating the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. Stratton’s customers from Spokane to North Idaho and even Western Montana have complained that he took deposits for jobs but never returned.
The new complaint alleges 10 counts of grand theft by false promise. It lists 10 victims who have lost between $1,000 and $5,441.80 to Stratton during the last two years.
One of those victims, Joyce Hillhouse of Hayden, Idaho, said she couldn’t be happier.
“The most important thing is to just get this man out of the way,” she said. “I’ve talked with people who have invested up to $8,000 with this man and never have seen anything from it.”
Douglas said Tuesday that Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies have not been able to locate Stratton. Anyone who has seen Stratton is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Department to help it locate him, Douglas said.
“Mr. Stratton has left a trail of tears and misery,” Douglas said. “We want him to have to account for what he’s done.”
Attempts to reach Stratton were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.
The sentencing guidelines for the charge Stratton faces range from one year to 14 years in prison for each of 10 counts.
Stratton was acquitted in a similar trial three years ago in which he was accused of failing to complete work.
“His defense then was that he was a sloppy, bad businessman,” Douglas said. “I’d expect him to use the same defense, but it’s been eight or nine months since he took these people’s money and he’s made no attempt to go back and finish any work.”
Stratton is prevented from doing any work in Washington state by a court injunction.