Home improvement fraud allegations target Muncie brothers again

MUNSI, Ind. – The legal troubles of two Munsi brothers have increased with their arrests on home improvement fraud charges.

Phillip D. Waters, 36, was arrested Wednesday on preliminary charges of home improvement fraud and theft.

His brother, Travis Ryan Waters, 33, was also arrested Wednesday on the same two charges and an additional count of corrupt business influence, also known as racketeering.

In the report, John Branson, an investigator with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department, said the Waters brothers accepted two checks in 2021 from a Muncie man — for $1,000 and $5,853.94 — for repairs to his house and roof, which was leaking.

The job was never done, Branson reported.

More: Muncie’s legal troubles grow with racketeering, home improvement fraud charges

“The job is not finished and (the victim) has no money to fix the leaking roof, more than two years later,” he wrote.

In an interview with Branson last week, Travis Waters reportedly admitted that he ‘didn’t do the work that was promised after taking (the victim’s) money.

The investigator noted that the brothers — who reportedly run the business, Waters Custom Exteriors — have faced previous fraud-related charges.

Phillip Waters was already scheduled to go on trial on Feb. 27 in Delaware 4th District Court on 10 charges brought against him last October – corrupt business influence, attempted theft, two counts of fraud and three counts each of theft and fraud for home improvement.

In that case, he was accused of taking $8,500 from an 85-year-old local man after he agreed to fix the roof and then never did the work. Phillip Waters is also accused of taking more than $15,000 from a local woman under similar circumstances.

Both brothers were released from the Delaware County Jail on Wednesday after posting bonds — $10,000 for Phillip and $15,000 for Travis.

Delaware County District Attorney Eric Hoffman said Thursday that those involved in home improvement scams “usually target senior citizens or people who are susceptible to fraud.”

“Home improvement fraud can be devastating to the victim,” he said. “It has the potential to bankrupt them, and the work they paid for has not been done.”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and the Indiana Home Builders Association suggest those in need of home repairs “ask family, friends and colleagues for contractors they’ve used that did a good job.”

They also recommend checking with the attorney general’s consumer protection division — at https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer-protection-division/ — and the Better Business Bureau for information about contractor complaints before signing a contract or paying. .

Douglas Walker is a reporter for The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at dwalker@muncie.gannett.com.

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