Matthew Morris

Matthew Morris

Already under indictment in Ascension and Livingston parishes, jailed Baton Rouge contractor Matthew Morris was accused Thursday by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury of defrauding residents in the wake of August's unprecedented flooding.

The East Baton Rouge panel charged Morris, 39, 21313 Turkey Creek Drive, with four counts of residential contractor fraud and one count of filing or maintaining false public records.

Morris, the chief executive officer of Baton Rouge-based Complete Construction Contractors, has maintained his innocence. His attorneys say the criminal charges brought against him should be handled as civil disputes.

A Livingston Parish grand jury indicted Morris previously on 51 counts of contractor and insurance fraud, theft, extortion and other charges stemming from allegations that he cheated victims of the August flood.

A grand jury in Ascension Parish also indicted him on 84 counts of contractor and insurance fraud, misapplication of payments, theft, falsifying public records, and contracting without a license.

Law enforcement officials have said Morris would begin work,demolition and even mold remediation but later inflate the costs to his clients, most of whom were flooded in August. When clients got the final bill to finish their homes, they would cancel their contracts only to have Morris file property liens in area courthouses based on fraudulent fees and other costs after offering a settlement, authorities have said.

Homeowners have said the liens often prevented them from completing their homes, scared off other contractors and tied up insurance payouts.

The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office also has accused Morris of bank fraud and another related count over the use of challenged property liens as collateral for a line of credit from a Houma bank.

Morris' case in Baton Rouge has been assigned to state District Judge Tony Marabella.

  

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.