Barryton man ordered to pay nearly $100,000 restitution in building scam – The Morning Sun
Circuit Court Judge Mark Duthie told a Barryton man that he wasn’t going to tack any fines or court costs on to his 10-month jail sentence because he didn’t think the man would ever make whole the elderly couple he defrauded in a home building scam.
“The bottom line is a ton of restitution in this case,” Duthie told Dennis Floyd LaLonde, 52.
Duthie ordered LaLonde to repay the couple more than $93,000 he took to build a house, but in reality, left what was largely an empty shell. He also told LaLonde that the amount of restitution is so high that he didn’t expect that LaLonde would ever be able to repay all of it.
LaLonde pleaded no contest to fraudulent use of a contractor fund on Jan. 18. In exchange for that, charges of false pretense of between $50,000-$100,000 and working as an unlicensed builder were dismissed.
He was originally charged with taking more than $323,000 from the couple to build a home on Coldwater Township’s Stevenson Lake Road, but completing very little of it.
At Tuesday’s sentencing, Isabella County Principal Trial Attorney Mark Kowalczyk told Duthie that the invoices he submitted to set restitution were all from LaLonde and showed a pattern of double-dipping and other things. Materials purchased for the home sat out in the elements and became unusable.
Kowalczyk questioned whether the couple — in their 70s when they hired LaLonde — would be able to build their home today, with construction prices so high.
LaLonde had asked for a…