Contractor’s death means NK man may not recover $48,000
After being indicted more than a year ago for felony construction fraud and three misdemeanors in connection with accepting $48,000 from a New Kent man to construct a building and not doing the work, Travis Vern Richmond had worked out a plea deal with county authorities.
Richmond, 37, of 2991 Hickory Highway in Statesville, N.C., had agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanors—operating without a contractor’s license and not registered as a Virginia corporation.
In return, the felony construction fraud count and the third misdemeanor—conducting business without a county license—were to be dropped.
Richmond was due to appear in New Kent Circuit Court on Oct. 29 to enter the guilty pleas and also present a check for just over $48,000. He never showed.
Richmond’s attorney, John A. March, told Judge Thomas B. Hoover that his client was dead. New Kent sheriff’s personnel then contacted Statesville police who furnished an account revealing Richmond apparently committed suicide during the overnight hours of Oct. 24-25.
“His daughter found his body in their garage with a truck motor still going,” New Kent Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory said.
“He had signed the plea agreement and told his lawyer he had the money and would be bringing a certified check to trial,” Gregory added.
Richmond was indicted in September 2006 for not performing work after he had contracted to construct a building off Route 612 near New Kent Airport for William Bennett. Gregory said Bennett is unlikely to recover the money.
“I told him he probably won’t get it,” Gregory said. “He could try to get money out of the state Contractors Insurance Fund or maybe there’s some sort of estate, but there’s probably going to be a long list of creditors.”