Contractor accused of embezzlement appears in court - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Contractor accused of embezzlement appears in court

Bart Witsman Bart Witsman
FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee contractor accused of scamming people out of thousands of dollars was in court Wednesday morning.

Contractor Bart Witsman, 39, appeared in a Williamson County courtroom on theft charges.

A homeowner at the Cedarmont subdivision in Franklin filed charges against Witsman saying he would install a swimming pool if the soil allowed. The pool couldn't be built, but the homeowner said Witsman never refunded the $21,400 he was paid.

A different victim, Brandon Emamalie, hired Witsman to build a new deck on his Eagleville home in Rutherford County.

"We ended up signing a contract and got hammered from there," Emamalie said.

"He was very knowledgeable about everything he talked about, from the outdoor kitchen to the grill to the pavers stone patio to the deck," Emamalie added.

He paid Witsman a $17,500 deposit, but said he still has no deck and no money.

"I feel like I have a pretty good judge of character, but he got me," Emamalie said.

Emamalie had his old deck torn down, and now there is a six-foot drop-off. He said he is worried about the safety of his 5-year-old daughter and two dogs.

"I have to be out there and have something built temporarily so it's not a safety hazard," he said.

According to authorities, Witsman has scammed people out of money in at least three counties.

He had done work on several home in the Taramore subdivision in Brentwood. A victim who lives there said he never started on her covered back porch and landscaping. Her family is out $37,000.

"I might as well cut my losses and go on down the road," Emamalie said. "The best thing I can do is to make sure he stays where he is supposed to be: behind bars."

Witsman is also indicted on unrelated charges in January of last year. FBI agents brought charges against him after he allegedly embezzled more than $400,000 from a former employee in La Vergne.

A warrant has been issued for Witsman in Rutherford County on similar charges. If he is able to post his $75,000 bond in Williamson County, he will be picked up and face those additional charges.

According to the US Attorney's Office, Witsman was arrested last year for embezzlement and released on bond. When they found out about that last week, a motion was filed to have his bond revoked. They have now asked that a bench warrant be issued. If that happens, federal authorities will arrest him and file new charges.

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