Local contractor facing new charges in 3rd county for incomplete work

A local contractor is in more legal trouble. John McDonald already has cases in Allegheny and Washington counties. Now, Channel 11 learned he’s facing charges in Beaver County.

>> Additional charges filed against local contractor accused of not completing work

Independence Township Police just filed charges against John McDonald. It’s been a long time coming. They’ve been building this case for about a year now and finally got support from the new Beaver County District Attorney.

“He did just enough work to make it look like he was working is sort of how he was beating the system,” said Attorney Fred Liechti.

The stories across Allegheny, Washington and now Beaver County are very similar. People accuse John McDonald of taking their money and doing little to no home improvement work.

“His actions kind of imprisoned my clients and their children in their house,” said Liechti.

>> Attorney of contractor facing criminal charges for incomplete work claims he fell on hard times

Attorney Fred Liechti’s clients live in South Fayette. They’re out more than $70,000 and have been in this battle since 2022. Liechti says McDonald left his clients with piles of debris and an empty hole in their yard.

“They had to pay back a mortgage,” said Liechti. “Nothing to show for it. No way to use their house. The emotional strain for her was beyond anything you could imagine.”

Now, the Beaver County District Attorney is pursuing these new criminal charges which include home improvement fraud, theft by deception and fraudulent business practices. According to this most recent criminal complaint, the alleged victim in Independence Township paid McDonald $31,000 and no work was done.

>> Contractor facing charges in 2 counties for incomplete work

“This fella was taking 20, 30, 50, 80,000 dollars from different sites, and he had a way of doing it that was successful in a way to con people,” said Liechti.

At a prior preliminary hearing, one of McDonald’s attorneys said this was a civil matter. Independence Township Police Chief Lance Malobabich and Liechti disagree.

“Singularly with each event, the DA might not have been able to do it, but collectively they begin to see the pattern,” said Liechti. “It’s his pattern of conduct that caused them to finally draw the case together.”

As for getting any money back?

“My guess is the contractor has spent all of the money that he took in,” said Liechti. “I doubt that he has anything available. There might be some restitution at the end of this criminal trial but to the extent that they get anything would be very doubtful.”

Attorney Liechti runs West Allegheny Charities and says he’s in the process of organizing an event to raise money for some of these victims.

“What could have been beneficial is if he would have been arrested earlier,” said Liechti. “It might not have been so pervasive.”

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