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Colorado Springs contractor facing seven felony theft charges, victims worry about light sentence

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - A Colorado Springs contractor faces seven felony charges for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers and leaving projects unfinished. However, alleged victims worry the contractor might get off with a light punishment.

Robert Hedden hired Erica Johnson in November 2021 to remodel his home. He said Johnson’s company, Jayne of All Trades, had good reviews and “no red flags.” His wife even taught Johnson back in middle school, he said. Yet despite the research and relationship, Hedden’s home is incomplete and Johnson is no longer on the project nearly two years later.

“We just felt like we'd been snafued and we didn't know what to do at that point,” Hedden said.

In January, Hedden learned Johnson’s contracting license expired, so she could no longer pull permits to finish the project. After paying Johnson $153,000 for the project, Hedden ended the contract with her. At that point, she owed him more than $142,000. Hedden said he still hasn’t been paid back the money for the incomplete work.

Hedden was also required to pay a subcontractor nearly $4,000 after he threatened to place a lien on his home because Johnson didn’t pay him for demolition work.

“Now we have to figure out how to spend the money to send our kid to college and figure out what we can do with the money that we lost,” Hedden said.

Hedden has now filed a civil lawsuit and criminal charges against Johnson, and he said he isn’t the only victim.

“There are several victims in this community that are impacted by this that haven't come forward because they're scared of her,” Hedden said.

13 Investigates learned Johnson is facing seven different felony charges — all for theft, ranging from $2,000 to $1 million. 13 Investigates reached out to Johnson multiple times about the charges and theft allegations, but we've yet to hear back.

“There were a lot of excuses on her end,” Hedden said. “All the other victims said the same stories — she’s hurt, her kids were sick, she had cancer. Multiple things. So as far as I understand, I have absolutely no idea (what’s true).”

Hedden said seven felony theft charges should be enough for a lengthy prison sentence. He points to a similar contractor theft case in Northern Colorado, where a man was sentenced to 20 years for stealing more than $150,000 from customers, as an example of the punishment Johnson should face. But victims worry she’ll only get a “slap on the wrist.”

Hedden told 13 Investigates the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is considering a plea deal. He said the attorney on the case told the victims after the most recent court hearing that probation could be an option.

“They're considering probation for seven felonies, which to me is just ludicrous,” Hedden said. “I can't understand why it's even possible for a person to steal over a half a million dollars from us in this community and get off on probation.”

The DA's Office said it can’t comment on an active case. The victims are supposed to meet with the DA later this month to discuss the case before Johnson’s next hearing in October. Johnson posted bail and Hedden claims she is still defrauding customers.

“There's many other Erica Johnsons out there,” Hedden said. “We did all our homework, but even doing the homework and having a trusting relationship built, it does not guarantee that you'll ever see that money come back.”

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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