Crime & Courts

Wichita homebuilder given 5 years’ probation for defrauding customers

Sedgwick County courtroom (File photo)
Sedgwick County courtroom (File photo) File photo

A Wichita homebuilder who defrauded customers has been ordered to serve five years of probation and repay $344,236, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

District Judge Stephen Ternes, who imposed the sentence Wednesday, also forbade Brett Horth from working in the homebuilding business, the office said.

Horth, 44, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of felony theft for keeping money that homeowners had paid for subcontracting work.

Most of the thefts occurred last year. At the time, Horth ran a business called Dream Life Homes and built houses in Andover, Colwich, Derby, Garden Plain, Goddard, Park City, Pratt and Wichita. He is now an assistant manager for a restaurant, the office said.

Ternes ordered Horth to repay $300 a month to the 11 homeowners affected, many of whom contacted Wichita police after subcontractors who had done flooring, concrete and other work on their houses complained that they were never paid for the services. The homeowners had paid Horth to reimburse the subcontractors. Their losses ranged from $5,000 to $76,583.33, according to Horth’s plea agreement.

Horth could be sent to prison for 16 months if he fails to make the payments or refuses to abide by other terms of his probation. He was originally charged with five counts of felony theft. Three were dismissed as part of his plea deal.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker