HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County jury on Friday acquitted a Bedford County man of home improvement fraud, after his defense attorney argued that the man intended to do the work.
“Things came up that caused delays,” attorney Richard Corcoran told the jury on behalf of Tyson Neville of Six Mile Run.
In the fall of 2019, an older couple in Catharine Township hired Neville and his then-girlfriend, Alicia Kump, for a roofing job and interior repairs.
But after paying $3,500 and seeing no work done, the couple contacted state police at Hollidaysburg who filed criminal charges in July 2020 against Neville and Kump.
Assistant District Attorney Justin Shickman told the jurors that Neville showed no interest in following through with the work, until state police knocked on his door in June 2020.
“What would have happened if state police didn’t step in?” Shickman said.
Corcoran asked jurors to recall trial testimony about relationship difficulties between Neville and Kump. He said Neville put a tarp over the property and always intended to do the work. He said he still has a mold abatement product that was meant for the job.
In mid-November 2019, the property owners said they sent a text message to Kump, telling her they wanted their money back because no work had been done. Testimony indicated that the couple paid $2,500 to Neville and $1,000 to Kump.
Kump didn’t tell Neville that the couple wanted their money back, Corcoran told the jury in his closing. Instead, she told Neville they wanted to delay the roof job until March, the defense attorney said.
Corcoran also reminded the jury that Kump, at one point, took Neville’s client contact information, leaving him with no phone numbers. Shickman countered that Neville knew how to get to the couple’s property and could have driven there.
In June, Kump rendered guilty pleas to home improvement fraud, theft by deception, receiving stolen property and related charges. She has been ordered to make restitution of $3,500.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.