Chris Foster of ADS Builders gets jail time for his role in ill-fated Grand Lake area subdivision
October 11, 2011
One of the principals of former ADS Builders, Chris Foster, was sentenced to 59 days in the Grand County jail and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution on 13 counts of class 1 misdemeanor theft, and received one deferred judgment on a charge of class 4 felony theft.
Foster, 38, and co-defendant James Barnett, 50, were accused of failing to pay subcontractors and suppliers for work done at a now-abandoned Highway 34 subdivision across from Lake Granby.
Victims of the construction fraud criminal case included John Jennings of Granby, Sani King of Granby, Mountain Parks Electric of Granby and Flinstone Gravel of Granby, as well as a drywaller, framer, stone mason, cabinet maker, heating contractor and hardwood supplier from the Front Range, and Diamond Contracting, the company which ADS failed to pay about $30,000, according to court documents.
In November 2010, the two men pleaded not guilty and were arraigned on charges of seven counts of class 3 felony theft and seven counts of Class 4 felony theft.
In April, the defendants agreed to a deferred judgment and sentence, which included $300,000 in restitution with $100,000 of that amount to be paid on the day of sentencing.
But when Barnett appeared in District Court at Hot Sulphur Springs for sentencing on June 17, he brought a renewal notice for a certificate of deposit dated Sept. 12, 2008, in the amount of $96,741 rather than certified check or money order.
Barnett and his attorney were granted a 60-day continuance to secure funds from the bank.
Subsequently, Investigator Leo Piechocki of the Grand County Sheriff’s Department became involved and concluded the CD was from the now-defunct New Frontier Bank of Greeley, which had been taken over by the FDIC on April 10, 2009.
The investigator ascertained the FDIC mailed checks to all customers who had certificates of deposits with that bank three days later.
In Piechocki’s report, he concluded: “Barnett presented the CD renewal notice to the court as purported funds, securing a continuance in his sentencing and in an attempt to influence a public servant” – a class 4 felony.
When Barnett reappeared again in court, his original plea was rejected.
In Foster’s case, the plea deal was amended to include an agreement that Foster will testify against his former boss Barnett, if Barnett’s case goes to trial.
Foster’s sentence also includes an apology letter to all the victims, supervised probation, 100 hours of public service and the $300,000 in restitution, which may be paid jointly with Barnett.
Meanwhile, Barnett’s case has been set for trial starting March 12, 2012, if the accused does not accept a new plea deal from the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, according to Deputy District Attorney Heather Shwayder Hughes.
Barnett was president of ADS Builders, which had companion companies Mile High Construction and Legacy Construction Services, all based in Broomfield. A year-long sheriff’s investigation alleged that the suspects received about $2 million from closing costs and builder deposits drawn from homebuyers’ loans, but never paid subcontractors to finish (or even start) building investors’ homes.
The affidavit for the arrest warrant of Barnett and Foster listed the homebuyers of 31 homes in a sub-community of the Colorado Angler’s Club, the buyers of which acquired their loans through National City Bank. The Grand County investigation focused on the Colorado Angler’s Club, although other smaller ADS projects in Grand County were also mentioned in court documents.