A contractor was sentenced to more than two years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to a 93-year-old District woman he tricked into paying more than $170,000 in home improvements that were not performed.
James F. Butler, 52, pleaded guilty in November in D.C. Superior Court to a charge of first-degree theft of a senior citizen.
Butler admitted that he and his workers asked the woman, whose memory was deteriorating, to pay for material and labor a total of 38 times during a period of one-and-a-half months. Sometimes Butler, would have her write multiple checks on the same day, knowing that she did not remember already paying him.
Butler is the owner of Nationwide Tree Specialists, a tree- and stump-removal business that is operated out of his home in Culpeper. He is not licensed as a general contractor in the District of Columbia or elsewhere.