By Noelle Steele, Greenfield Daily Reporter
GREENFIELD — Prosecutors have agreed not to pursue the criminal case against a Noblesville man accused of being part of a roof-repair scheme, provided the defendant pays back $10,000 to a dozen Hancock County victims.
Kurt Beard was one of two people charged in the home improvement fraud case filed in 2014; the case against the main defendant, Mike Friery, is still pending.
Prosecutors said they offered Beard a diversion — a legal agreement not to pursue prosecution — because Friery is the investigation’s main target.
Beard served as an office manager for Friery, whose company left $1 million in home repairs unfinished after signing contracts with victims across central Indiana, police said.
The company, Veteran Construction, was at one time based in Fishers but went out of business early in the investigation.
Police began to investigate Friery’s business after several Hancock County homeowners came forward with complaints they paid a contractor who never completed work on their homes.
Workers for Veteran Construction — several of whom cooperated with police during the investigation — visited Hancock County homes after thunderstorms caused significant hail damage.
They offered roof inspections and an estimate for repair. In each case, the homeowner paid up front for a portion of the labor and materials, court documents state. Many had signed contracts from Veteran Construction that stated work would begin in 45 days.
For at least a dozen local homeowners, none of the work was ever started, and Friery failed to return phone calls from the customers left hanging, according to charging documents.
Investigators dug into Friery’s history and said they learned Friery has operated repair companies in states across the country, each time leaving victims in his wake.
Friery and Beard, his bookkeeper, each were charged with 42 felonies; 14 counts of theft and 28 counts of home improvement fraud.
Beard will not face prosecution in the case, but requiring restitution as part of the agreement was important, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
“We want to try to make the victims whole,” he said.
After Friery’s business went under, he left the state and started another construction company in another name, court records state. He returned from Florida last year to face charges.
Friery returns to Hancock Circuit Court on May 21.