Trial set in All Seasons case
With the prosecution and defense unable to reach a joint resolution, a trial date was set in the case of owners of a contracting company that allegedly scammed dozens of Ironton residents out of money paid for home repair services.
Owners of All Seasons of Kentucky, Leo Patrick Richard Jr., and his wife, Carol Richard, both of Manhattan, Ill., made an appearance in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Thursday for what was originally scheduled as a change-of-plea hearing.
The couple, formerly represented by a Columbus-based attorney, is now under the counsel of local attorneys Chris Delawder and J.T. Holt.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to resolve the case,” Delawder told Judge D. Scott Bowling.
Delawder also suggested a change of venue for the case may be warranted.
“I think it would be probably impossible to get an impartial jury,” he said.
“Don’t we have to try first?” Bowling said.
As of now, the Richards will have separate trials, but the option remains for the couple to sign a waiver of their rights protected under the confrontation clause outlined in the Sixth Amendment .
Bowling scheduled a two-week trial to begin Oct. 14. A pretrial for a final offer was set for Sept. 30.
J. Bartley Cosgrove, assistant Ohio attorney general of the consumer protection and economic crimes unit, is prosecuting the case.
The Richards were indicted in November on more than 100 criminal acts following a months-long investigation by the Ironton Police Department and Ohio Attorney General’s Office into allegations the company was paid for home repair services but did not perform any or all of the work they were hired to do.
Patrick Richard was charged with one count of first-degree engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, 23 counts of fifth-degree theft, 12 counts of fourth-degree theft from the elderly and 33 counts of third-degree money laundering.
Carol Richard was charged with a count of first-degree engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, as well as 35 counts of fifth-degree receiving stolen property and one count of third-degree money laundering.
All Seasons of Kentucky operated in Ironton from December 2012 to April 2013. Dozens of consumers complained the business did no work at all or did work that was shoddy.
After taking customers’ money and doing little or no work, records allegedly show the owners made personal car payments and yacht club payments from the All Seasons of Kentucky bank account, according to the attorney general’s office.
In September, the AG filed a civil suit against the couple, charging the business and its owners with multiple violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act, including failure to deliver, shoddy work and failure to give consumers proper notice of their right to cancel. The attorney general seeks to stop further violations and to obtain full customer restitution and civil penalties.
According to the lawsuit, the attorney general is seeking a civil penalty of $25,000 for each separate violation of the CSPA. The case is still pending.