The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Skippack man admits to fraud in Lower Merion home improvement project


By Carl Hessler Jr., chessler@21st-centurymedia.com

Monday, September 23, 2013

COURTHOUSE – A Skippack man has admitted that he failed to complete a home improvement project for which he was hired and paid to complete by a Lower Merion homeowner.
Cyrus Cross, 40, of the 4000 block of Harmon Court, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court on Monday to a felony charge of home improvement fraud in connection with the April 2011 incident. The open plea means Cross has no deals with prosecutors regarding his potential sentence, which under state sentencing guidelines, could range from a minimum of probation to up to seven years in prison.
Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy deferred sentencing until later this year. The judge also intends to hold a restitution hearing to determine how much money Cross will have to reimburse the homeowner.
In the meantime, Cross remains free on bail pending his sentencing and restitution hearing.
According to a criminal complaint, a resident of Panorama Road in the Villanova section of Lower Merion hired Cross in April 2011 to complete a series of construction projects at the home.
“He paid Cross $18,020 to have Cross build a back yard pond, replace family room and kitchen windows, replace a patio door, build back yard fencing, replace a laundry room door, obtain pond and fence permits and repair exterior stucco and paint,” Lower Merion Detective Thomas Luke alleged in the arrest affidavit.
The homeowner reported to police sometime later that Cross stopped answering his phone calls and had not completed the work for which he was paid. The homeowner told police he had been unable to contact Cross.
By pleading guilty to the charge, Cross admitted that he received advance payment for performing home improvement services or for providing home improvement materials and failed to perform or provide those services or materials as specified in a contract.
Other charges of theft by deception, deceptive business practices and receiving stolen property are slated to be dismissed against Cross at time of sentencing in exchange for his plea to the home improvement fraud charge.
Follow Carl Hessler Jr. on Twitter @MontcoCourtNews