A local contractor accused of home improvement fraud was sentenced to {span}Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition{/span} for failing to complete work.

Todd Emery Stephens, no address given, was charged by Clearfield-based State Police with home improvement fraud, a felony of the second degree; and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Judge Paul Cherry accepted his application into the ARD program yesterday at ARD court.

ARD is a rehabilitative program for non-violent offenders with little or no prior criminal record and if successfully, completed the defendant can apply to the court to have the criminal charges expunged.

Cherry ordered Stephens to pay $650 to defray the cost of the ARD program and placed him on ARD probation for two years and prohibited Stevens from possessing or consuming alcohol or controlled substances without prior approval from the probation department. Cherry also ordered him to perform 20 hours of community service, pay $1,626 to the victims, which was paid in full, according to Stephens’ attorney, Robert J. Freeman of Ebensburg. Stephens was also ordered to have no contact with the victims.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on March 20 the victims hired Stephens to perform some home improvement work at a residence in Ferguson Township and paid him $1,500 with a check.

The check was cashed the next day. The contract stated the work would begin in April or May but Stephens never began the work or paid the money back. The victims contacted Stephens periodically in an attempt to get him to begin the work but he never did.

State police spoke with Stephens on Oct. 10. Stephens said he planned to do the work but it was delayed due to rain and never got to it. He also said he planned on paying back the money but never did.

Deputy District Attorney Lumadue represented the commonwealth at the hearing.