Texas: Theft of Service

If you’ve been in business as long as I have, you’ll run across situations where the client can’t, or won’t pay. This story is out of Texas. I asked my business attorney this very question, years ago. He told me it would be a very difficult task to get a “Theft of Service”.
I saw this story and thought it was interesting.
Just FYI, if you don’t have an attorney that looks over your contracts or mails the nasty letters for you, find one. 30yrs ago, I had a legal contract that I had developed myself. I filed a lien on a property only to have the real estate company’s attorney destroy me over the distance from the signature to the State required notification on my contract.

Nederland man indicted after allegedly not paying contractor

News

Nederland man indicted after allegedly not paying contractor for his work

Megan Zapalac, Staff writer

July 14, 2023

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A Nederland man is accused of stealing nearly $60,000 in work done by a local contractor.

The now-29-year-old man was indicted in mid-May by a Jefferson County Grand Jury for theft of service over $30,000 but less than $150,000.

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On Jan. 11, the owner of Minaldi Construction LLC., reported doing nearly $60,000 worth of work across 10 days for the then-28-year-old at a home in the 110 block of Dorothy Drive in Nederland, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The company made multiple unsuccessful attempts to collect the money, including through certified mail that showed the letter was delivered, before notifying police, according to the affidavit.

The Sheriff’s Office did not return a request for comment regarding whether the man had been arrested.

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In Indiana we can enforce on a mechanics lien and force foreclosure. If you can prove no intent to pay/fraud you are awarded 3X damages. I had to do that once, used their “expert witness” against them and their counter claim was satisfied for $1. Which means their suit was settled and couldn’t be refiled!

Make sure you are keeping track of your last day work was done on site and the lien laws. It isn’t a perfect solution but it does give you an eventual remedy.

I am going through a situation where I am trying to put a lien on a customer’s property now. I’ve already won a small claims judgment and took an abstract of judgment to the deeds office and filed it. I thought that would lien the property but I guess it doesn’t. It’s nearly impossible to find a lawyer around here to help with this. I’m not sure what the next steps are. Anyone have any suggestions?

Go to the county recorder’s office, they should have the paperwork. You must get it done in a timely manner. 60 days on multi units and 90 days on single units in Indiana. Not a big deal. Once that is done you have a year until you can sue and force foreclosure. Lawyer’s fees are included in the settlement. All part of doing business!
Try this link
How to File A Texas Mechanics Lien: A Step-by-Step Guide (levelset.com)

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Thanks Darkthirty, seems that I could just use this website and service and learn a lot.

That link was for education only. Once you get the lien filed, you have time to find a decent lawyer. You’ll need a good one until you’re no longer in the business. A bad one can cause more trouble than you have now. I went through three of them to find one that was a straight shooter, that worked with for 30 years.