In exchange, charges were put on hold on the eve of his trial.
Mark Sellers, 45, had been charged with home improvement fraud, a Class A misdemeanor, stemming from a dispute that began in the fall of 2018. In March 2019, the customers, Bob and Lisa Dunkel, reported to police that Sellers had taken a payment of $4,000 to begin work on a pole barn but had never returned to finish the work.
Sellers said the dispute was a misunderstanding.
On Monday, Feb. 3, the day the case was slated for trial in front of Judge Dan Marshall in Hancock County Superior Court 2, prosecutors said they would withhold prosecution after Sellers paid the couple back the $4,000.
“The victims are satisfied and we were able to hold the person accountable,” Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
Stipulations in the withholding of prosecution say that Sellers must not commit a criminal offense from the date the agreement is filed. He must also pay court costs and diversion fees of $454 within 60 days, according to court records.
Sellers, of Indiana Choice Builders of Fishers, is a contractor the couple found on craigslist, they said at the time the charge was filed. They had hired him to build a 30-by-30 foot structure behind a relative’s house in the 1100 block of West Walnut Street.
Sellers drew up plans and took a $4,000 payment of what he said was an $8,000 fee. The Dunkels said Sellers came to the site four times and drilled holes into the ground and put up poles. The problem, the Dunkels said at the time, was the project wasn’t measured properly, so the pole barn kit they had purchased for the project wouldn’t work.
Eventually, the couple fired the contractor and told him to stay off the property. Sellers acknowledged he was asked to stay away, but said he had full intentions of getting the work done despite delays.
The couple ended up hiring another contractor to complete the work.