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VALPARAISO — A local builder has been arrested on allegations of taking money from a customer and then failing to follow through on a new home project, according to court records.

EcoHomes builder Bryan Siewin faces a felony count of theft.

"We believe these charges are entirely unfounded," said attorney Michael Campbell, who is representing Siewin.

"The issues raised in this case are civil in nature — stemming from a contractual dispute — and are best addressed as a civil lawsuit," he said.

Campbell said he is looking forward to working with prosecutors to resolve the issue.

Siewin is 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 on Feb. 5, but no progress has been made to build the house and no applications have been filed for the necessary permits.

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"This detective determined that Siewin had done literally nothing to attempt to complete the building contract as of June 27, 2017," Spicer said.

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.

A business telephone number listed for Siewin is no longer functioning.

Siewin, who was taken into custody at the jail last week, left a few hours later after posting a $3,000 cash bond, according to the county sheriff's department. 

He is scheduled for an initial court hearing on the charge at 1 p.m. Nov. 14 before Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper.

He faces 6 months to 2½ years behind bars if found guilty.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.