On Your Side Investigators: Contractor going to trial for bad check charge

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A felony bad check charge against home improvement contractor Mark Johnson is certified to a grand jury and set for trial.

12 On Your Side began investigating customer complaints against Johnson last year. Johnson was even featured on the Fugitive Friday page - and we stayed on his case, until he was finally arrested, in October.

On Tuesday morning, a Henrico judge dismissed one felony bad check charge against Johnson involving a vendor he did business with out of Ohio. A second charge, involving a Richmond-area vendor, is set for trial.

Mark Johnson was originally charged with three 'failure to perform construction in return for advances' and two bad check charges. Attorney Devika Davis argued there's nothing to suggest her client intended to defraud anyone.

He repaid three individuals she says before today, who accused Johnson of taking their money and not performing the work, and one bad check charge is now dismissed.

"I can say that Mr. Johnson was a successful business man for a number of years, who prided himself on providing quality service to all of the individuals that he did business with," said Davis. "He was faced with this situation where his business went under - much like many of the businesses that have been impacted by the economy."

The operations manager for Thermal Industries, the one felony case in Henrico that's set for trial, says Johnson owes him $10,000 for windows he delivered to Johnson and got a bad check in return. Johnson's attorney is hoping the charge is dismissed for lack of evidence and claims her client is remorseful.
"He is now living with the repercussions of an unsuccessful business," said Davis. "Mr. Johnson is an honest man, and he's been troubled all along to have accusations made against him to the contrary, but he would look forward to his day in court to be able to explain his side of the story."
The prosecution says it's confident with the case going forward, and the dismissed charge can be brought back.
Johnson is in the Henrico County Jail right now. A motion to reduce his bond was denied - the court referenced a prior felony conviction of perjury, involving spousal support. The bad check charge is set for trial March 20.

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