Contractor sentenced to prison for scamming Memorial Day tornado victims

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A judge told a contactor convicted of scamming victims of the Memorial Day tornadoes that he was a “con” and sentenced him to three years in prison.

Brandon David Valandingham previously pleaded no contest to a count of theft (elderly/disabled person by deception) in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Judge Dennis Adkins told Valandingham during sentencing Wednesday afternoon that he was not a candidate for probation.

“You took advantage of a lot of the citizens, and reading the (pre-sentencing investigation report), it’s clear you take no responsibility for any wrongdoing whatsoever for your actions,” he said.

“Your actions were despicable. You stole from elderly people and you’re a con,” the judge said.

Along with the prison sentence, Valandingham was ordered to pay several victims restitution that totals more than $25,000.

“This defendant pitched his services to victims of the Memorial Day tornadoes and never had any intention to do the work. No work was ever done for any of the victims involved and, to date, no money has been refunded to these victims. This defendant deserves to serve time in prison and must repay these victims who’ve lost so much in the wake of a catastrophe,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said in a release Wednesday.

The Dayton Daily News revealed complaints against Valandingham and his company as part of the newspaper’s project Walking The Path, which followed the route of the EF4 tornado that hit the region on Memorial Day 2019. The series investigated obstacles to recovery.

Valandingham was arrested on charges in Miami County during the course of the newspaper’s investigation. He eventually pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, paid restitution and was sentenced to a suspended 30 days in jail.

Wednesday’s sentencing was for subsequent charges in Montgomery County.

Along with the criminal charges, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in January filed a civil lawsuit against Valandingham and Buckeye Storm Solutions, claiming he failed to complete work for which he accepted money and performed shoddy work. A trial date for that case is set for next year.

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