Hooper man accused of defrauding couple in house deal

Mar 1 2012 - 9:41pm

OGDEN -- The Utah Attorney General's Office has charged a Hooper man with defrauding a Box Elder County couple.

Rockie Kay, 55, of Rock Hard Construction, was charged Feb. 23 with five counts of communications fraud and one count of a pattern of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies, in 2nd District Court.

He was charged in 2011 with theft by deception relating to the same set of circumstances. However, his attorney argued that the four-year statute of limitations on second-degree felonies committed in 2006 had run out. The judge agreed and dismissed those charges.

The attorney general's office filed the new charges because fraud continues "until the element of the crime is complete," said prosecutor Denise Dalton.

Because the office argues he commited communication fraud through emails with the Fowles, the alleged crimes extend into June 2008 and are still viable for prosecution, she said.

Kay's attorney, Sam Hood, declined to comment.

Kay signed a purchase agreement with Terry and Tonya Fowles in June 2006 for $236,000 for a building lot and construction of a new home, according to the probable cause statement by an attorney's office investigator. The lot was in the Walker Springs subdivision in Perry.

Kay carried a construction loan in his name through Howard Kent, Inc.

Four times, Kay encouraged the Fowles to pay him directly, because it would reduce interest costs on the loan, the statement reads. They agreed each time. From July to November 2006, Tonya Fowles issued checks to Kay totalling $85,000.

In March 2007, the Fowles moved into their new home and needed to establish a final construction cost so they could close on a mortgage loan.

Between then and June 2008, they tried to schedule meetings with Kay to review the finances. But Kay was never available to meet and failed to show up at scheduled closing dates, the probable cause documents states.

On June 16, 2008, Howard Kent Inc. foreclosed on Kay's construction loan for lack of payment.

"The Fowles were forced to vacate their new home and lost all the monies they had personally paid for construction," the statement reads.

Howard Kent Inc. reviewed Kay's construction loan and found he had made no payments toward the loan balance, the statement reads. It goes on to say that Kay's bank account showed no expenditures related to the construction of the Fowleses' home.

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