ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An Albany contractor that admitted to taking $50,000 was sentenced Tuesday afternoon.
Jimmy Lee Jones was sentenced to five years.
Two of those years are to be served in prison. The other three are to be served on probation.
Jones also has to pay $35,000 in restitution while on probation.
He was sentenced as a first offender.
Officials said if Jones complies after serving his sentence, he will longer be a convicted felon.
Jones was taken into custody by the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office to start his sentence.
Jones was indicted on one count of conversion of payments for real property improvements by a Dougherty County grand jury in November 2018. Jones was charged in 2017 for taking the funds from an Albany family for construction work but did not finish the work.
From trial proceeding:
Judge Denise Marshall called this case an irregular one from the start. That’s because, since the beginning, Jones admitted to taking money and not use it for the family’s project.
Jones confessed to taking $50,000 from Richard Jordan Jr.
Jordan contracted Jones to repair his family’s home after a fire in 2015.
The contract started in 2017, and Jordan said the work is undone. Jones says he used $15,000 to buy equipment.
He argued he couldn’t do anything else due to asbestos and termites.
Prosecutors said Jones didn’t address the asbestos problem until six months after he started the project. They allege he used the other $35,000 for other things.
Jones even told the judge on the witness stand, he did just that.
Judge Denise Marshall:" Were in fact used to improve that property...or have they otherwise been appropriated?"
Jimmy Jones: “Otherwise appropriated.”
Judge Denise Marshall: “Okay, you can’t otherwise appropriate money that is entrusted to you for a specific purpose.”
Now for about two minutes, Judge Marshall was completely puzzled at what she heard. She even stopped after his statements— as he admitted to his actions.
Jordan said he trusted Jones with the project. Jones was a deacon in Jordan’s father’s church.
“I thought that I could help him because I knew him and I thought that it could expeditious things because I was trying to get things restored as quickly as possible,” said Jordan.
Jones did represent himself throughout this case.
Prosecutors said they offered him a plea deal, and he denied the offer. He did again on Tuesday.
Jones said he wanted to proceed with the trial without taking a deal.
Now he will spend two of his five years in prison. Three years on probation and will have to pay $35,000 in restitution. Jones was immediately taken into custody to start that sentence Tuesday.
Richard Jordan Jr. said now he has to spend money to tear down the house down.
“Because I’m not getting any restitution at this point, I have the responsibility of litigating all these matters, solving all of these financial problems. That’s a burden that’s pretty hard for me to bare at this point,” said Jordan.
Jordan said he has to spend thousands of dollars to knock down the home or the City of Albany said they would have to do it themselves.
Jordan also said his 94-year-old mother doesn’t know anything about the damage to her home.
She now lives in Atlanta with Jordan.