12 ON YOUR SIDE: Elusive contractor arrested in Henrico

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The elusive window contractor accused of accepting people's money and not showing up to do the work, is behind bars.

Mark Johnson was arrested by Henrico Police. A county jail source told 12 On Your Side, Johnson went before a judge and was arraigned Thursday morning. He's sitting in jail on five charges for allegedly doing people wrong in Henrico and Chesterfield counties.

According to Henrico Jail Booking, he is facing three counts of Failure to Perform Construction in Return for Advances and two counts of Bad Check charges.

The arrest brings hope to allege victims still waiting to get paid. Just last night, I had a phone conversation with the operations manager for Thermal Industries, Todd Crider. $10,000 is what Crider says Johnson owes him for bounced checks.

Crider says he delivered the windows and got bad checks in return.

"He's a disgrace to the business industry," said Crider. "He needs to be dealt with, apprehended and license stripped."

Douglas Cook says he paid Clear Choice Windows contractor Mark Johnson for a patio door he never got and filed a warrant in debt to get his money back. Johnson didn't show up for court last April, but he refunded cook $3,089.00 just in time for court.

"He knew the system well enough by sending me my money back, that he didn't have to appear," said Cook.

I reached out to Johnson numerous times over the past year. Except for pictures we got our hands on, we never got the chance to look him in the eye and ask about the complaints against him.

The Virginia Board of Contractors emailed me and says his arrest does not affect its regulatory investigation. It is actively investigating four complaints against him and, like everyone else until now, the problem was finding Johnson. It reminds alleged victims the Contractors' Board cannot refund money - but it can revoke a license.

"We recognize sometimes that's cold comfort," said Mary Broz Vaughan. "For some folks, that's a lot to at least say this won't happen to anyone else. For some folks they still go, 'I'm still stuck.'"

Sources, people who know Mark Johnson, tell me he left town and recently returned, and was seen hanging out at several restaurants. Those same people reported his whereabouts to police.

I will continue to investigate, to learn more about the Henrico and Chesterfield cases and the Board of Contractors complaints.

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