A St. Marys man was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $60,000 in restitution to his victims in Logan County Common Pleas Court on Thursday. Jeffery D. Collingsworth, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft and one count of theft involving his contracting business, “J&R Roofing and Remodeling,” in late March.
According to investigators, Collingsworth scammed at least a dozen customers out of more than $375,000 in Adams County, Indiana and Monroe County, Michigan as well as Allen, Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties. Investigators advised there may be more victims who did not report his conduct to law enforcement.
Collingsworth is currently serving prison sentences from Auglaize and Mercer counties, where he also has a conviction for Medicaid fraud. He appeared by video from prison for the Logan County sentencing, as did his attorney, Griff Nowicki. The State of Ohio was represented by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Erin Rosen. As Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Braig ordered the sentence to be served consecutively, Collingsworth will spend approximately 10 years in prison.
The Logan County offenses happened between September and December of 2021. Sheriff’s deputies were contacted by residents who paid Collingsworth for labor along with materials and supplies for projects which were not completed. Two of the victims had contracted with Collingsworth for construction of pole barns, and the other had relied on Collingsworth to install a metal roof. Collingsworth finished one of the pole barns, but when the same victim paid him to build a porch and replace siding, he did not complete those projects. He reportedly offered to refund one of the customers and sent certified mail which did not include payment. In some of the Shelby County cases, he did refund customers with checks that bounced. He told at least one customer the reason he failed to complete projects was because his “Amish crew” quit. Some of his conduct in failing to pay subcontractors and suppliers resulted in mechanics’ liens against the victims’ real estate in other counties.
At the sentencing hearing, two of the Logan County victims detailed their losses, of $47,000 and $9,250, respectively. Collingsworth was ordered to pay restitution to both as well as with $4,400 to the third victim, who did not appear for sentencing.
Collingsworth has an extensive criminal record, as he was on supervision from Auglaize County at the time of the offenses. In 2006, he was convicted of multiple counts of theft by deception and telecommunications fraud and still owes almost $40,000 in fines, costs and restitution in that case. He also has a prior misdemeanor theft conviction from Logan County in 2016 for stealing generators from a Bellefontaine business, with unpaid restitution.
Rosen noted the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section offers a free database for property owners to research consumer complaints against Ohio contractors as due diligence before paying for a project at www.ohioprotects.org. The Better Business Bureau also reviews contractors and publishes complaints at www.bbb.org, but has no legal enforcement powers.