Matt Morris BR.contractorarrest.020917

Matthew Morris

An Ascension Parish grand jury indicted a Baton Rouge builder on 84 counts of contractor fraud Monday over work he was to have done for 18 victims of the August floods.

Matthew Morris, 39, owner and CEO of Complete Construction Contractors, was charged with an array of counts related to defrauding the flood victims. He is in Livingston Parish Jail, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bobby Webre said Monday, where he is also facing allegations of contractor fraud. Webre said deputies would likely transfer Morris to Ascension Parish Prison later in the week.

Three more victims in Ascension Parish have come forward since the case was turned over to prosecutors, and additional charges against Morris are pending, Webre said.

Morris was first arrested in Ascension Parish on Feb. 8, and since then, other law enforcement agencies have arrested him, and the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors suspended his license temporarily, pending a hearing April 20 in which he could have it revoked.

Before Monday, Morris had been arrested on 119 counts of contractor fraud over allegations of insurance fraud and other counts involving victims from Ascension and Livingston parishes and Baton Rouge. Almost all of the cases are for post-flood construction work, although at least one arrest in Baton Rouge involved a contract from 2014.

Ascension Parish sheriff's deputies said in February when they first arrested Morris that he used a finely written contract to tally thousands of dollars in claims assistance fees, grossly overbilled or billed people for work that had not been done and collected residents' insurance payments with inflated or fraudulent bills.

The flooded homeowners had hired him for a variety of jobs, including demolition, drying, mold remediation and reconstruction.

Complete Construction also placed liens on some residents' property, preventing them from continuing to get their insurance payments, deputies have said.

He was charged Monday with 84 counts related to 18 victims: 17 counts of residential contractor fraud; 14 counts of misapplication of payments; 9 counts of theft of assets of the aged; 11 counts of falsifying public records; 16 counts of engaging and contracting without a license; and 17 counts of insurance fraud.


Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.