Glenolden man arrested for running contractor scam via Facebook
MEDIA, PA – Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced that John Patrick Latta, 41, has been arrested on theft charges for scamming multiple residents he contacted through Facebook, taking advanced payment for work on various home repair projects and then failing to perform the work.
John Patrick Latta, 41, of the 200 block of Summit Avenue in Glenolden, is charged with receiving advance payment for services and failure to perform, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property. The arrest comes at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by Detective Edward Rosen of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Economic Crime Unit.
In December 2018, an investigation was launched into possible fraud after information was received about John Patrick Latta who was soliciting for home repair/improvement contract work on Facebook, and then taking advance payment for work he never performed. According to the most recent victim, who resides in Upper Providence Township, she contacted Latta through Facebook and arranged for an estimate for work to be conducted on her driveway. On November 1, 2018, Latta arrived at the residence and provided an estimate of $275 for the work and requested $140 in advance payment which the victim sent electronically through Venmo, an electronic payment application. Latta promised to perform the work the next day, but never returned. When the victim requested a refund through Venmo, Latta denied the victim’s refund. He then blocked her from social networking and did not answer further calls or messages.
Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that John Latta committed similar fraud against a total of nine victims in Delaware County, many who responded to his solicitation for work posted on Facebook. In most instances, the work was for driveway sealing and repair projects, in addition to home repairs such as brick and cement work, with estimates ranging between $200 and $550 dollars. Latta took advanced electronic payment from the victims, however, he never performed the work.
“John Latta made false promises to do work he never performed, pocketing the money and then disappearing, leaving the victims in this case understandably frustrated, and hundreds of dollars out of pocket,” said District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. “Using social media to reach out to the local community, he took advantage of his fellow residents’ trust, and will be held accountable for his actions. As we believe there could be more victims out there, individuals who believe they may be a victim are encouraged to contact us. When seeking the services of a contractor, avoid social media referrals, as scammers like Mr. Latta could pose as legitimate businesses. Please also remember to never settle for a verbal agreement. Contractors should always provide a written contract, and a representative should visit the property and make notes about services requested.”
If you believe that you have been victimized by John Latta, contact Detective Edward Rosen at 610-891-4851.
CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE MERELY ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL AND UNLESS PROVEN GUILTY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 29, 2019
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4252