Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Roofing Contractor Cleared of Fourteen Criminal Charges

WRTV reports that a roofing contractor, accused of intentionally damaging the roofs of homes following the 2006 hail storm, has been cleared.

A roofing contractor accused of intentionally damaging the roofs of homes in the wake of a 2006 hailstorm has been cleared in the case.

Joseph M. Radcliffe, the owner of CPM Construction, was arrested in September on 14 counts of corrupt business influence, insurance fraud, criminal mischief and fraud.
But this week, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office told Call 6's Rafael Sanchez that it cannot prove any of the allegations.

Radcliffe's employees, who made most of the claims, have since backed off their original statements, as well as a key witness who said he saw Radcliffe damage roofs, prosecutors said. Radcliffe was accused of engaging in what is known as dime spinning, a practice in which dimes are used to damage shingles, in an effort to reap large settlements on houses insured by State Farm.

Officials said at the time that the fraudulent activities cost the company $1.75 million. Radcliffe has always contended that he would beat the charges. He told Sanchez that he will break his silence soon in an effort to rebuild his reputation.

Anyone who has done insurance litigation, knows there is a big flaw in the theory. The insurer is State Farm, which is well-known in legal circles for litigating virtually every claim, no matter how valid. If you are a contractor and you're going to pull this scheme are you really going to do it on houses insured by State Farm?

This appears to be yet another case of the Marion County Prosecutor's Office making poor charging decisions. At least eventually they recognized the charges needed to be dropped. Then again, that took seven months.

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