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Builder accused of misappropriating more than $703,000 from customers

September 6, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A Cape Coral builder faces fraud charges after police say he swindled more than $700,000 from customers who had contracted to build a home.

Christopher Paul Cheney, 40, of 5505 Merlyn Lane, was charged Wednesday with fraud-swindle obtain property more than $50,000.

Police say the arrest came "after a long and very intensive investigation."

Article Photos

Christopher Paul Cheney

"The Cape Coral Police took several reports in 2017 in reference to Southern Premier Homes, LLC regarding fraud claims," the CCPD release states.

The agency assigned a Financial Crimes Unit detective to investigate the complaints.

"Each victim reported that they contracted with Southern Premier Homes, LLC and were in the process of building homes with the company. The victims had given varied amounts of money to the company, which were intended for building needs," officials said.

The complainants told investigators that they dealt directly with the owner of the business, Cheney.

"In each case the victims reported that the monies that were provided were not used as intended and they were unable to recoup any money back," the release states.

"It was determined that beginning in 2016 and continuing until around June 2017, Christopher Paul Cheney engaged in a systematic and ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud multiple parties to obtain monies by false pretenses, representations, promises or intentional misrepresentations of a future act with Southern Premier Homes, LLC which caused victims to incur of a loss of more than $703,000."

CCPD filed for a warrant through the State Attorney's Office. Once obtained, Cheney was located at his residence, arrested, and taken to the Lee County Jail.

Bond was set at $30,000 and he was released from the Lee County Jail the same day.

Southern Premier closed its model on Chiquita Boulevard last June.

At that time, Southern Premier Homes had 11 outstanding permits in Cape Coral, nine of which were open, according to city officials.



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