VALPARAISO — A felony theft charge has been dismissed against a local builder who was accused of taking money from a customer and then failing to follow through on a new home project.
The Porter County prosecutor's office confirmed it requested the dismissal for EcoHomes builder Bryan Siewin, but no one was available Thursday afternoon to comment on the move.
In a prepared statement, Siewin "acknowledged making some poor business decisions regarding the lenders he chose to have finance his residential builds."
Siewin said he "is committed to implementing the invaluable lessons he has learned to rebuild his reputation as a high quality home builder in Northwest Indiana."
His attorney, Michael Campbell, said, "We've maintained all along that the issues raised in this case are civil in nature — stemming from a contractual dispute — and are best addressed as a civil lawsuit."
"Although I don't agree with the decision of the Porter County prosecutor's office to file the criminal charge, I do commend Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel and Deputy Prosecutor Salina Malone for their diligence and cooperation in resolving this case," Campbell said.
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Siewin was accused of taking $8,000 on Sept. 30, 2016, to build a home in Valparaiso, according to the charging information.
The money was supposed to save a particular lot and cover the purchase of building permits, according to Porter County Sheriff Detective Mike Spicer.
The parties entered into a contract Feb. 5, 2017, but no progress has been made to build the house, and no applications have been filed for the necessary permits.
The purported victim in the case said he has filed a civil lawsuit against Siewin, but has had no contact with him since reporting the loss of money to the Sheriff's Department.
Spicer said he spoke with Siewin in May, and Siewin acknowledged receiving the $8,000 in question.
"He blamed some lot and building changes for the delay, but acknowledged that he never applied for a tap-in permit," according to the charging information.
Siewin had faced 6 months to two and a half years behind bars if found guilty on the charge.