Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
May 29, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
CONTRACTOR SENTENCED TO PRISON AND $845,000 RESTITUTION FOR STEALING FROM HOMEOWNERS AFTER FAILING TO COMPLETE
SANTA ANA – A contractor was sentenced today to state prison for taking more than $670,000 from homeowners after agreeing to install sunrooms in their homes, but failing to finish the work and leaving the victims financially responsible for hiring new contractors to complete the unfinished jobs. Ira Jay Messing, 61, pleaded guilty to the court on April 24, 2009, to 15 felony counts of diversion of construction funds and one felony count of grand theft with white collar crime sentencing enhancements and allegations for causing loss over $500,000, $150,000, and $100,000. He was sentenced today to three years and four months in state prison and ordered to pay $845,700 in restitution to cover the theft and victims’ additional financial losses.
Between Oct. 6, 2003, and Dec. 23, 2005, Messing contracted with homeowners to install sunrooms in their homes through his business, Hall of Fame Design and Remodeling. He took more than $670,000 from 15 homeowners and did little or no work on the projects for the victims’ homes. He then kept the victims’ money or used it to complete old contracts. In addition to losing the money paid to Messing, the victims had to pay new contractors to complete the unfinished work on their homes.
Messing closed Hall of Fame Design and Remodeling in December 2005 and filed for bankruptcy in February 2006.
Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.