A business partner in a luxury homebuilding company in the western suburbs will spend a year in the Hennepin County workhouse for his role in swindling customers out of more than $1 million.
Carter Siverson, 51, of Faribault, Minn., agreed to the plea deal Monday. In addition to the workhouse time, he is expected to receive a stayed 39-month prison sentence.
From 2009 to 2012, Siverson and partner Keith Waters were paid to build or remodel homes and a church in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Excelsior, Victoria and elsewhere, but the work was not completed. The customers eventually learned that the business, Keith Waters & Associates, hadn’t paid the subcontractors who provided the labor or materials for the projects, even though the money had been released to the company.
The result was that the customers often had to pay twice in order to prevent the subcontractors from placing liens on their properties.
“Contractors who do not pay subcontractors will argue that it is a civil, not a criminal matter,” County Attorney Mike 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.”
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, 72, 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.