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Two Tallahassee Builders Dodge Jail Time in Described 'Ponzi Scheme'

By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email

Tallahassee - June 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Two Tallahassee builders known for their work on an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition dodge jail time. They faced a judge today to enter pleas and and sentencing.

Jake Myddleton and John Philip each faced 100 years in prison for cheating at least four customers out of thousands of dollars.

They would take money from one customer, promise the work, then use that money to instead catch up on their bills. In at least four instances the subcontractors they hired were not fully paid for their work. To get that money, the subcontractors put liens on the homes leaving homeowners out the money they already paid to Parker and Myddleton. They were arrested last year and charged with grand theft and misappropriations of funds. On Wednesday they faced a judge.

"I do want to apologize, I'm sorry, I am very sorry," said Myddleton.

"We put a lot of trust in people including ourselves and I feel terrible we did not pull through," said Philip.

In the end they may have faced a century behind bars but they were given three years probation and 360 hours of community service. They were also ordered to pay more than $112,000 in restitution which they did with cashiers checks in court. They told the court that they were able to secure that money by borrowing from 17 friends and family members.

The judge also ordered Parker and Myddleton to write apology letters to the four customers.

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Updated 2:15pm by Julie Montanaro

Jake Myddelton has entered a no contest plea to eight felony counts. He faces a maximum sentence of 100 years.

John Philip Parker has entered a no contest plea to eight felony counts. He too faces a maximum of 100 years in prison.

The sentencing phase is now underway. At this time the defense is calling on witnesses to testify to the characters of Parker and Myddleton.

So far people are saying the two are good men and have served in positive ways to the Tallahassee community. One man mentioned the work the two did on the home for Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

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Updated 6.27.2012 1:30pm by Julie Montanaro

Two Tallahassee builders accused of grand theft and misappropriation of construction funds entered a plea in court this afternoon.

Jake Myddelton and John Philip Parker are best known for spearheading an Extreme Home Makeover for a Tallahassee family who adopted several special needs children.

Parker and Myddelton have entered pleas to grand theft and misappropriation of construction funds. They have brought cashiers checks to court to pay restitution to four families in the amount of $112,506.

Jake Myddelton entered a 'no contest' plea in court.

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UPDATED 7.22.2011 by Julie Montanaro

The arrest of builders Jake Myddelton and John Parker earlier this week is still the talk of construction sites all over town.

Smith Roofing is a small family business. It's on a list of subcontractors who detectives say were never paid by Myddelton Parker Builders. Owner Troy Smith says he has no hard feelings but at the time, he needed that 15-grand and tried repeatedly to get it.

"Got the roof on, sent a bill in for putting the roof on, didn't hear anything, didn't get a check and a month later or so I found out they were in some big financial trouble," Smith said.

This week, detectives arrested Jake Myddelton and John Parker for embezzlement and grand theft. They say the builders mishandled construction funds, failed to pay sub-contractors and 154-thousand dollars is still missing.

Arrest papers show that 11 subcontractors wound up placing 14 different liens against four homeowners to try to recover their costs.

The liens range from 900 dollars and change up to more than 20-thousand dollars. According to arrest papers, some of the businesses including Jenkins Brick, Sellers Tile and Robert Hutton Inc. got burned twice.

"They paid some bills and others went unpaid. That's what happens in bankruptcy," said bankruptcy attorney Allen Turnage.

Turnage filed bankruptcies for Myddelton and Parker last November. He says the builders did everything they could to try to make things right before doing that.

"The prosecutors get the first swing and the debtors will get the last swing. The money that is "missing" will be accounted for. I am 100% confident that Mr. Parker and Mr. Myddelton will be exonerated," Turnage said.

We have not yet been able to connect with any of the homeowners involved in this case.

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UPDATED 7.21.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Troy Smith with Smith Roofing says he was surprised to hear about the arrests of builders John Parker and Jake Myddelton.

He was one of the subcontractors who was not paid for his work on one of the houses Myddelton Parker was building.

Smith says he ultimately placed a lien on the house to try to recover more than $15,000 for his work. He says he has since cancelled that lien and settled with the homeowner for partial payment.

Smith says it put him in a big bind when Myddelton Parker did not pay its bills, but he says they are not bad people. "They were just trying their best to stay afloat," he said.

Smith says things happen and he is not bitter, but he says "Myddelton and Parker owe a lot of people a lot of money" and some of them are very angry with good reason, he said.

Kitch-Encounters was another subcontractor that was not paid for its work on one of the Myddelton Parker homes. Arrest papers show it placed a lien on the home for $2110.

Business Manager Martha Fenner says Kitch-Encounters "repeatedly requested payment from Myddelton Parker and even offered to compromise with the contractor," but never got paid.

"We did everything we were legally required and entitled to do," Fenner said. She called the lien a "last resort remedy."

As for the arrests of Parker and Myddelton, Fenner said, "the case is not yet settled and the legal system needs a chance to work."

Bankruptcy attorney Allen Turnage says he was surprised to see Myddelton and Parker arrested. "But every time you lose money it is not a crime," he said.

Turnage filed personal bankruptcy petitions for Myddelton and Parker in November 2010 and the company was dissolved.

"They were trying to finish up those jobs and at the end came up short of money," he said.

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UPDATED 7.20.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Court records show that both men have already posted bond and been released.

Court records show Myddelton was booked and released from the Leon County Jail in six minutes. His bond was set at $50,000.

Court records do not indicate which attorneys are representing the men in this criminal case.
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[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida - July 20, 2011 - 2pm

LCSO Release:

In December of 2010, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office received information that Myddelton Parker Builders had embezzled funds from construction loans and then failed to pay sub-contractors for work on several homes under construction.

Financial Crimes Detectives have discovered that Jake Myddelton and John Parker made several construction loan draw requests during the course of building at least four different homes in Leon County between November 2009 and August 2010. After receiving the funds, Myddelton and Parker then failed to pay sub-contractors for the construction work that had already been provided.

At least fourteen different instances were located which involved sub-contractors placing liens on the four properties under construction in an attempt to recover the costs of the services and construction already provided. Combined, the four sets of victims (those who obtained the construction loans) have acquired a minimum loss of $154,401.76.

Arrest warrants were obtained for both Myddelton and Parker on July 11, 2011. On July 19, 2011, Parker was arrested in Greenville, South Carolina. Myddelton turned himself in at the Leon County Jail on July 20, 2011.

ARRESTED
Jake M. Myddelton
DOB: 11-04-1971
Charges: Embezzlement/Misapplication of Construction Funds (four counts), Grand Theft over$100,000.00

John P. Parker
DOB: 05-12-1972
Charges: Embezzlement/Misapplication of Construction Funds (four counts), Grand Theft over$100,000.00

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Tallahassee, Florida - July 20, 2011

Tallahassee builders are facing multiple felony charges.

John Parker and Jake Myddelton of Myddelton Parker Builders are each facing four felony counts for misappropriating construction funds from at least three client accounts.

They're also facing a charge of grand theft of more than 100 thousand dollars.

Middleton turned himself into the Leon County jail this morning.
Parker turned himself in in Greenville South Carolina.

We'll have more tonight on Eyewitness News.


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