(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Office of the Attorney General has prevailed in a case against two individuals who operated a home-improvement company in Hamilton County that scammed money from 63 Hoosiers, including 33 senior citizens.
Over a 10-month period, Green Frog Restoration LLC took payments totaling $389,187.82 for work it never completed. Nor did the company refund the money paid by consumers.
A Hamilton County court last week awarded judgment in the case of James Twaddle, who with Wanda VanWinkle operated the business from May 2014 to March 2015. The same court already issued a default judgment against VanWinkle and Green Frog in 2017.
The default judgment, totaling $1,268,870.44, includes $389,187.82 in consumer restitution, $367,523.52 in senior consumer treble damages and $511,500 in civil penalties. Following an October trial, the court ordered that Twaddle also be held personally liable for Green Frog’s $1,268,870.44 judgment. Twaddle is also permanently enjoined from owning, operating or managing any home-improvement business in Indiana.
Green Frog Restoration touted its specialty to be replacing siding and roofs on homes in the aftermath of storms. Before coming to Indiana, Twaddle already had been charged with home-improvement fraud in at least five Kentucky and Ohio counties. While out on bail, he moved to Indiana and used the alias “Jim Martin” to avoid being recognized for his ongoing criminal issues.
During Green Frog’s short time of operation, both Van Winkle and Twaddle took significant sums of money out of the business. Bank records show Van Winkle took approximately $127,845 from Green Frog’s account, plus spent approximately $80,000 on personal expenses — including a BMW; psychic readings; and food and retail purchases from stores such as Kohl’s, the Buckle and GameStop. Over the same time period, Twaddle paid himself $108,774 from Green Frog’s account and additionally used $189,688.52 from Green’ Frog’s account to pay his ongoing legal expenses stemming from criminal charges in Ohio and Kentucky, including a court-ordered payment of consumer restitution in the amount of $150,000 to Ohio victims. Additionally, approximately $130,000 in cash withdrawn from Green Frog remains unaccounted for.
“The Office of the Attorney General takes very seriously our responsibility to protect Hoosier consumers,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “When you break the law in Indiana, you should pay the price for your actions, and I am grateful for the Hamilton County court’s conclusions in this particular case.”
Attached are court documents relevant to this case.