Jesse Morgan

Jesse Morgan

A Honey Brook man remained in Berks County Prison nearly a week after his arrest on a warrant from Cumru Township police on home improvement fraud charges.

Jesse Morgan, 57, was taken into custody Friday by deputy sheriffs at his residence in the first block of Eric Circle. He was jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail Friday night following arraignment before District Judge Sandra L. Fegley in Reading Central Court pending a hearing on charges of home improvement fraud, deceptive business practices and related counts.

According to investigators:

On July 22, a homeowner reported to Cumru Township police that he had been cheated out of a $1,500 down payment.

The homeowner said he hired Morgan, doing business as Valpave Construction, on Jan. 8, 2019, to seal his driveway. Morgan gave him an estimate of $325, and the homeowner wrote a $125 check as a down payment. The check was cashed that day.

On May 21, 2019, the homeowner agreed to have Morgan repave his driveway for $2,800 instead of sealing it. He wrote a $1,500 check as a down payment, and the check was cashed the same day.

On June 6, 2019, Morgan tore up and removed the old driveway. The homeowner went on vacation, and Morgan said the work would be completed when the homeowner returned.

The homeowner returned five days later and the work was not finished. Morgan said he would have to wait two weeks to complete the driveway due to heavy rain.

In July 2019, Morgan told the homeowner that he could not complete the job because of rain. The homeowner was unable to reach Morgan by phone.

On Sept. 5, 2019, the homeowner texted Morgan and asked him to return the down payments totaling $1,625.

Morgan did not respond, and the homeowner filed a civil complaint at the office of District Judge David L. Yoch.

After a hearing on Dec. 11, 2019, Yoch ordered Valpave Construction to pay $1,799 in restitution.

When the homeowner had not received the restitution,  he obtained a county court order requiring Valpave to pay.

The homeowner contacted Cumru police this past summer because he still had not received restitution.

Cumru Detective Robert Kelly checked a law enforcement database and discovered that Morgan had a lengthy criminal history in Fairfax County, Va., for home improvement fraud. The detective found dozens of complaints of fraud since 2013.

He also found an October 2019 newspaper article in which Fairfax County police advised the public of an ongoing driveway paving/sealing scam involving Morgan, doing business as Morgan Paving.

Kelly also found the Virginia Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation had revoked Morgan’s contractor license in November 2011.

Last week Morgan arrived at the Cumru police department for an interview.

Morgan said he moved to Pennsylvania in 2017 and started a paving and sealcoating business.

When told about the homeowner's allegation, Morgan said he had to wait for the ground to settle before he could finish the work. He said the homeowner hired someone else to finish the work before he could.

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