AG considering suing roofing company with ties to convicted felon

(WISH Photo/Bennett Haeberle)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A roofing company accused of taking more than $100,000 from Indiana customers is being threatened with the possibility of legal action by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, sources confirm to I-Team 8.

Documents reviewed by I-Team 8 show that Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office has received at least 25 complaints from customers alleging that they paid Green Frog Restoration to perform repair work on their homes that was never completed.

A letter addressed to Green Frog’s current owner, Wanda VanWinkle, states that the Indiana Attorney General’s office intends to file a lawsuit against VanWinkle “individually and as owner of Greenfrog Restoration LLC.” stating that “Indiana homeowners have lost over $100,000 to GreenFrog’s failure to perform contracted work.”

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office declined to comment and simply stated in an email that the office was “investigating consumer complaints.”

News of the threatened litigation comes on the heels of an I-Team 8 investigation that found Green Frog Restoration has ties to a convicted felon.

James Martin Twaddle was sentenced in late March to 5 years in an Ohio prison after being convicted months earlier of defrauding roofing customers of their money.

Prosecutor David Phillips of Union County, Ohio alleged that Twaddle ran a scheme to defraud customers in at least eight Ohio counties. A news release by Phillips’ office stated that Twaddle used sophisticated software to identify storm damage and would approach victims at their homes and encourage them to request insurance funds for a new roof.

“After receiving the victims’ insurance checks, Twaddle deposited the money, but no one ever returned to the victims’ homes to perform the work promised. Many of the victims were elderly,” the release stated.

More than a half dozen Green Frog Restoration customers in Indiana who were interviewed by I-Team 8 say they’ve been the victim of similar circumstances. Some have even said they met Twaddle, who at times used the assumed name Jim Martin, according to sources and documents reviewed by I-Team 8.

Randy White, a south Indianapolis resident, told I-Team 8 that Twaddle was among four men who inspected his roof last year.

“Yeah when I saw his photograph I said ‘Absolutely this man was on my roof’ this time last year,” White said. “I’m 100 percent certain of it.”

White and Wanda Mulkey are among 25 customers who have filed complaints against Green Frog Restoration.

“I think it’s theft,” Mulkey said.

The 83-year-old Indianapolis resident received a mailed response from the Indiana Attorney General in June. Included in that response were documents from Green Frog Restoration’s former attorney, Russell Jones, who recently withdrew as counsel earlier this month.

Included in the documents was an emal Jones sent to a mediator in the Attorney General’s Office. It read:

As of March 2015, Green Frog is under new management and it is facing cash flow issues as a direct result of mismanagement and misappropriation of company funds by a prior manager. The current management is working diligently to pursue recovery of these misappropriated funds…

Those documents – along with investigative files reviewed by I-Team 8 – alleged that the prior manager was Twaddle, who also used the assumed name, Jim Martin. The documents state that Twaddle allegedly transferred $150,000 of Green Frog’s money to his Ohio attorney.

The documents state that “the money was wired with the understanding that it would immediately be returned to Green Frog.” Instead, the money was reportedly used to “pay restitution to Twaddle’s victims in Ohio. The funds were derived from Green Frog’s customers in Indiana…” the documents stated.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed that all 40 victims in Ohio had been paid restitution by Twaddle to the tune of more than $153,000. She declined to comment on whether her office was looking into where the money came from. Tom Hayes, Twaddle’s attorney, declined to comment on the allegations.

Repeated calls and messages left for Jones at both his office and cell phone were also not returned. VanWinkle did not return repeated phone calls and messages left.

But an I-Team 8 investigation, which included both a review of investigative documents and interviews with former Green Frog employees indicates that Twaddle was engaged in the company up until his sentencing in late March.

Carmel Police indicated they reviewed similar allegations against Green Frog earlier this year, but no charges were ever filed. A copy of that police report was unavailable Wednesday.

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