John Patrick Latta

John Patrick Latta

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A Glenolden man who posed as a contractor online and took up-front money for work never performed pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of home improvement fraud, all first-degree misdemeanors.

John Patrick Latta, 42, of the 200 block of Summit Avenue in Glenolden, entered his pleas under three separate cases involving multiple victims before Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Margaret J. Amoroso.

Pursuant to negotiations between Assistant District Attorney Erica Parham and defense counsel Andrew Edelberg, the pleas call for Latta to undergo an evaluation while in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to determine his suitability for a state intermediate-punishment program.

Latta was charged in January with receiving advance payment for services and failing to perform, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. County detectives launched an investigation in December 2018 after receiving information about Latta, who was soliciting for home repair/improvement contract work on Facebook.

One Upper Providence victim told investigators she contacted Latta through Facebook and arranged for an estimate for work to be conducted on her driveway. Latta provided an estimate of $275 for the work and requested $140 in advance payment, which the victim sent electronically through Venmo, an electronic payment application.

Latta had promised to perform the work the next day, but never returned. When the victim requested a refund through Venmo, Latta allegedly denied the victim’s refund, blocked her from social networking and did not answer further calls or messages.

Detectives initially identified at least eight other victims in Delaware County, many of whom responded to the Facebook solicitation. Estimates for the work promised in those instances ranged between $200 and $550. In each, Latta would take advanced electronic payment and then fail to show.

The negotiated plea calls for Latta to serve two years of  intermediate punishment, undergo a drug addiction evaluation by the state and serve two years of consecutive state probation.

Parham indicated Latta may seek early termination of probation if he makes full restitution and pays all court costs. Latta may have already repaid some of the victims, Parham said, but a full restitution order is expected to be completed by sentencing.

 Amoroso indicated she would receive notification from the state when the evaluation had been completed and will set a sentencing date at that time. Parham said the evaluation process should be completed within 60 days.

Anyone who believes they were victimized by Latta but has not yet reached out to law enforcement is urged to contact Detective Edward Rosen at 610-891-4851.

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