Western suburban contractor pleads guilty to theft and swindle

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Faribault man pleaded guilty to several counts of contractor theft and theft by swindle and will spend a year in the Hennepin County workhouse, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Carter Dean Siverson, 51, agreed to the plea deal Monday, the day he was set to go on trial. He will be sentenced on April 20 and, in addition to the workhouse time, is expected to be sentenced to 39 months in prison which will not be enforced as long as he lives up to his probation conditions over the next five years. He pleaded guilty to three counts of nonpayment for improvement to real estate, but three other counts were dropped.

“Contractors who do not pay subcontractors or fail to do the job for which they were hired will argue that it is a civil, not a criminal matter,” Freeman said. “But when homeowners are in danger of having to pay twice because the contractor is diverting the money into the company’s coffers, that is criminal and we want to send a strong message that we will prosecute and you will do time.”

Siverson admitted to the facts in the criminal complaint. Specifically, beginning in 2009 and continuing into 2012, Siverson and his partner, Keith Waters, were paid to build or remodel homes in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Excelsior, Victoria and elsewhere but the work was not completed.

Worse, in these cases, the customer would eventually learn that Waters and Siverson had not paid the subcontractors who provided the labor or the materials for the projects, even though the money had been released to Keith Waters & Associates. The result was that the customers often had to pay twice in order to prevent the subcontractors from placing liens on their properties. All told, Waters and Siverson illegally took more than one million dollars.

The theft by swindle charge to which Siverson pleaded guilty resulted from lien waivers he forged so that the company could be paid from construction loans.

Waters pleaded guilty in November to one count of nonpayment for improvement. He was sentenced to six months in the workhouse, which he is serving on electronic home monitoring because of a serious illness.