A man who formerly managed a manufactured home business in Rice Lake faces up to 13 and one-half years in prison in connection with two charges of felony theft by contractor, according to a complaint filed Thursday, Oct. 8, in Barron County Circuit Court.
The complaint identifies the defendant as 34-year-old Christopher D. Holman, Rice Lake, who formerly managed A-1 Homes, a manufactured home distributor on CTH SS, just south of Rice Lake. A-1 Homes closed earlier this year.
According to the complaint, the defendant, allegedly defrauded a customer who made two payments totaling nearly $65,300 after the customer agreed to buy a manufactured home from A-1 Homes last March.
The victim wrote a check of $5,000 to A-1 Homes on March 3, and later, made a second payment of $60,290, which was the balance owed for the home.
The customer was still waiting for the home to be delivered in mid-May 2020, when an office employee with A-1 Homes arrived for work to find representatives of Commodore Corporation, a home manufacturer, disassembling model homes on the A-1 property.
Commodore is listed as a Goshen, Ind.-based maker of manufactured and modular homes.
According to the complaint, a Commodore representative told the A-1 employee that his company was taking possession of the models because A-1 hadn’t paid for them. The office employee told investigators that she texted the defendant to let him know what was happening.
She allegedly received a reply to the effect that “It’s over and we are going to call a lawyer and file bankruptcy.”
In an August 2020 interview, two representatives from Commodore Corporation told investigators that on or about the time that the victim had written their checks to A-1, the defendant had already written several checks to Commodore that were later returned for insufficient funds.
A later investigation showed that there were more than $420,000 in withdrawals or attempted withdrawals from the same account that held the victim’s two checks.
Records from that bank account showed that none of the money from the victim’s checks was paid to the home manufacturer.
Records also show that in March 2020, the same month that the victim wrote their checks, A-1’s company bank account was drained of nearly $63,500.
According to a story published in the Barron News-Shield in June 2020, the Barron County District Attorney’s office confirmed it was conducting an investigation into A-1 Homes. At the time the story was published, dispatch logs included several 911 calls from irate customers who either said that they didn’t get the homes they had paid for, or that subcontractors weren’t paid to help install them.