HEATH, TX (Parker County Sheriff’s Office) – A Rockwall County man has been arrested following a lengthy investigation into fraudulent individuals who contracted with Seventy 18 Construction, LLC.
Parker County Sheriff Russ Authier said the investigation began earlier this year when a complaint was filed with the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division against people who entered into service contracts with the suspect , who had not provided these services.
Victims reported that the suspect, identified as Richard Derek Wortham, 37, of Heath, TX, had kept the money paid by the victims.
Sheriff investigators said Wortham, owner of Seventy 18 Construction, LLC, made binding agreements with the victims to pour concrete and provide metal for various construction jobs.
A victim said Wortham contracted with him in January, withholding a payment of $ 26,350 without providing the services or materials. After the contract was signed and the money exchanged, Wortham never returned to the client’s address to start construction projects.
Sheriff investigators worked with JP Morgan fraud investigators, finding that Wortham used the funds paid by the victim for personal and travel expenses without any business transactions or purchases made on his account.
Sheriff’s investigators also worked with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office in Wyoming who was investigating Wortham for other fraud cases, revealing he had made similar contracts with other victims, while keeping the victim payments over $ 100,000 and refusing to provide contracted services or materials. A grand jury subpoena has been obtained for the records and complaints against Wortham from the Better Business Bureau in Austin, seeking the records of the complaints they have received regarding Wortham or Seventy18, LLC.
Files were also subpoenaed by JP Morgan Chase Bank to search for documents related to the Seventy 18 LLC account, where Wortham filed victims’ payments.
Sheriff’s investigators discovered that Wortham had created several business names in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, scamming dozens of victims and never providing services or materials, as agreed for the to do. Wortham’s company social media page included photographs of construction work and projects that sheriff investigators discovered as photographs uploaded from Pinterest, belonging to another company unrelated to Wortham, and he did not have permission to use these photographs. A warrant was issued earlier this month for Wortham, on charges of theft of property of $ 2,500 to $ 30,000 in a state prison and an additional warrant issued out of Laramie County for unauthorized use of ‘personal informations. Sheriff investigators were told by DFW airport police that Wortham was identified and arrested while boarding an international flight to Cancun, Mexico on July 15. Wortham went to Parker County Jail the next day. He was released on July 24 on $ 30,000 bail.
Sheriff Authier said the case had been referred to the Parker County District Attorney’s Office.
Wortham’s bail conditions included handing over his passport.