Owner of Texas roofing company faces theft charges

| Saturday, March 10, 2012

The owner of a Texas roofing company faces 17 felony theft charges in Westmoreland County for allegedly failing to pay a supplier for materials and leaving property owners facing liens.

Steven Kyle Hunt, 36, of 109 Spring Creek Drive, Waxahachie, Texas, was charged this week in Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour's office with 17 counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

In court papers, county Detectives William Brown and Frank Galilei allege Hunt and his company, Prime Roofing Systems, received $64,534.62 in payments for materials from 17 property owners but failed to pay ABC Supply Inc. for the shingles and other supplies that were delivered to each residence.

The detectives began investigating Hunt and Prime Roofing in January after they were contacted by some of the property owners who had found mechanics' liens had been filed against their properties in county court.

The liens, filed by Wisconsin-based ABC Supply, alleged that Prime Roofing failed to pay for materials provided at the 17 job sites. The unpaid bills range from $2,184.71 to $10,974.65, according to court papers. Eleven of the properties are in Hempfield, two are in Greensburg, and one each is in South Greensburg, North Huntingdon, Scottdale and Unity.

Prime Roofing was one of many contractors who arrived in Westmoreland County last March after a tornado and hailstorm ripped through the area.

Brown and Galilei allege that Hunt, who also is known as Kyle Hunt, was listed as the contact person for Prime Roofing when the company registered to do business in Pennsylvania after the tornado. In at least one case, a homeowner was told to write a check for payment for labor and materials directly to "Kyle Hunt" because he needed to pay his workers, according to court papers.

The detectives allege that Hunt cashed the check by using his Texas driver's license at a bank in Pennsylvania. They said he identified himself as the owner of Prime Roofing on several occasions while doing business, including obtaining and returning materials, to an ABC Supply location in North Huntingdon.

Brown said on Friday that police in Texas were provided the arrest warrant for Hunt, and detectives are waiting for a response. Brown said Hunt will be extradited to Westmoreland County once he is in custody.

Brown said the state Attorney General's office plans to pursue civil litigation against Prime Roofing.

"They'll take care of that part," Brown said. "I've already talked to them."

Impacted property owners said they are pleased with the criminal charges but are still playing a waiting game with the liens, which will be held against their properties until the bills are paid.

The liens mean the owners cannot refinance, get a home equity loan or sell the property until they have been paid.

Rebecca Ruble, who had a $3,710.48 lien placed against her Hempfield property despite paying Prime Roofing for labor and materials, said the criminal charges were "the best news I heard in a while."

"I feel like it's step one," Ruble said. "It's finally some sort of positive direction, so let's hope that they'll find him. Let's hope that he'll pay. Let's hope that it gets resolved."

Barbara Lotz of Hempfield said she appreciates the work done by Brown and Galilei.

"I think the county detectives have done an awesome job," said Lotz, who had a $3,796.97 lien placed against her home. "To me, it was important, but in the wide scheme of things, it wasn't important, and the county detectives have kept us informed along the way. I'm really impressed."

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