June 17, 2010 in Business

Ex-contractor to repay clients over 14 years

Restitution part of plea deal
By The Spokesman-Review

A former contractor accused of bilking his North Idaho clients out of tens of thousands of dollars has agreed to pay more than $100,000 in restitution to victims.

During a Wednesday sentencing, Myck T. Beard said he was sorry for the pain he caused clients and was willing to make amends. As part of a plea agreement, Beard must pay the full restitution amount during a 14-year probation period, or he could be hauled back into court on grand theft charges.

Beard’s attorney initially questioned whether the former owner of Lake City Homebuilders would be able to pay the full amount.

“Fourteen years is a long time to pay off $100,000,” responded 1st District Court Judge Benjamin Simpson. “Six hundred and thirty dollars a month to stay out of jail is a pretty good deal.”

The sentencing followed an emotional appeal by one of Beard’s past clients.

Paige Lewis, of Athol, said she hired Beard to build a $42,500 addition to her home in 2006. He took the money, but filed for bankruptcy and moved to Nevada, leaving her with an unfinished addition and thousands of dollars in liens against her property from unpaid subcontractors, Lewis said. She said she drained her savings and refinanced her house to pay off the liens and hire a new contractor. The addition ended up costing $136,000, she said.

“I will be 60 on my next birthday. I will never recover financially,” Lewis said.

Other clients had similar stories.

“I ended up with a $28,000 driveway,” said Dan Davis of Coeur d’Alene.

Davis said he paid Beard $20,000 for a new driveway and interior home remodeling. After the driveway was poured, a subcontractor filed a lien for $8,000, Davis said. He said the interior work was never done.

The story of Lake City Builders illustrates the potential pitfalls of hiring a contractor in Idaho, Beard’s clients said. Contractors aren’t required to post performance bond in Idaho, which act as insurance if a contractor defaults on a project. As a result, homeowners have little recourse if their builder defaults or does shoddy work.

Beard entered an Alford plea to the grand theft charge in March. He admitted no guilt but acknowledged that he could have been found guilty based on evidence presented in court.

“I would never intentionally hurt anyone,” Beard told the judge Wednesday. “I understand the hurt my clients suffered … I accept that I have 14 years to pay this off.”

Lewis said the sentencing will help her move on with her life.

“I’d love to see a check,” she said.

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