SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A man was arrested after Smith County officials discovered that he had reportedly conducted “fraudulent business dealings” throughout Texas.
Joel Hinton Downs, 49, of Fruitvale, was arrested and charged with theft on Jan. 31.
His arrest was a result of a theft investigation conducted by the Smith County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. According to the constable’s office, they began their investigation after receiving a complaint from a resident about a man who he had paid to do a construction job that was never started.
According to the constable’s office, the resident reported the man, who was reportedly advertised as Flying J Building Systems, came to bid the cost of the construction of a metal building on the resident’s property. The man than took the $10,000 payment upfront and never returned to start the job.
After an investigation, the constable’s office discovered the man, identified as Downs, has number complaints against him in various other parts of Texas. An arrest warrant was later issued and Downs was arrested.
Downs was booked into the Smith County jail on Jan. 31 and posted a $20,000 bond the same day.
According to the constable’s office, the case has been turned over to the Smith County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
The Smith County Precinct 4 Constable Josh Joplin is warning residents to be cautious in their business dealings. He said in a press release, before making payments, residents should investigate the people they are contracting and their past business dealings.
The office ask anyone who may have been a “victim of unlawful business practices” to contact them at 903-590-4871.