Homebuilder Kenneth Lee Barrix, of Allen, Texas, accepted a plea agreement in the 443rd Judicial District Court in connection with a charge of theft of property greater than or equal to $1,500, but less than $20,000 on Wednesday.
Barrix received a deferred adjudication on the charge for two years and was asked to pay $45,000 in restitution fees.
An indictment was filed against Barrix on Dec. 20 2012 in connection with construction jobs he accepted money to build in Midlothian, and the Midlothian Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest Jan. 2, 2013. He was taken into custody Jan. 11, 2013 by the Allen Police Department. After being taken into custody, Barrix was able to make bond on all charges totaling $30,000. He was later indicted on additional charges on July 18, 2013. These charges come from his work as homebuilder in Midlothian.
According to his LinkedIn Page, Barrix lists that he is currently a homebuilder with Sumeer Homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. His page lists that he served as president and CEO of Kenli Homes from July 2012-2013.
Midlothian resident Wayne Nance was one of several victims who brought information to the Midlothian police about Barrix’s misconduct as a homebuilder, alleging his failure to pay his subcontractors and leaving homes unfinished. Nance said that Barrix was doing some remodeling work for him before he moved into his home in Midlothian’s MidTowne Village subdivision.
“I think what happened in court today was an injustice because a lot of people got hurt who are still hurt. Hundreds of thousands of dollars was taken by Mr. Barrix, but I think based on today’s legal system we got the best that we could,” Nance said. “I believe that during this two-year adjudication, he will screw up because criminals have a way of not changing their stripes.”
Barrix was indicted by a grand jury on five charges that included theft of service that allegedly took place Feb. 7, 2013; theft of property greater than or equal to $1,500, but less than $20,000 on an alleged offense that took place July 10, 2012; theft of service that allegedly took place May 29, 2012; theft of property greater than or equal to $1,500, but less than $20,000 on an alleged offense that took place July 11, 2011; and making a false statement to obtain property or credit that allegedly took place Oct. 27, 2011.
According to the indictment on the charge that Barrix pled guilty to, he allegedly exercised unlawful control over property that had a value of $1,500 - $20,000 without consent from the owner, James Fincher, by deception and with intent to deprive the owner of the property.
“These types of cases are extraordinary difficult in the best of circumstances. We felt like that we got the best outcome we could in this case. We got (a total of) $45,000 in restitution for three different victims,” Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson said. “The victims seem to be pleased with this outcome and that is why we made the agreement that we made, except for (Wayne) Nance. Although the reality is these were not easy cases to prosecute by any stretch of the imagination.”
Wilson said with cases like this, there are always questions of whether it’s a civil dispute or criminal laws dispute. Some of the factors that made this case difficult included one of the victim’s continued to work with Barrix and another victim who continued to engage in business transactions with Barrix.
“There were lots of practical hurdles there, and ultimately, he was willing to plead guilty to a felony theft charge and pay $45,000 in restitution,” Wilson said. “So we thought that was a good outcome for the victims.”
Some of the conditions of the plea agreement include committing no other offenses against the law of state of Texas and United States, reporting any contact with law enforcement within 48 hours, abstaining from alcohol beverages, no illegal drug use, avoiding persons and places of disreputable character, reporting to the community service department at least once each month, not leave the county without written authorization, permitting a community supervision officer or peace officer to search his home, vehicles, property or place of business for any prohibited items or contraband at any time, working faithfully at suitable employment, submitting to drug testing and performing 120 community service hours. Under the plea agreement, parties involved agreed that the four other charges would be dropped.
Barrix’s attorney Paul Rothband said he is pleased with the agreement that was reached in court on Wednesday.
“He was indicted on five cases. At the end, four of those cases were dismissed. The one remaining that he pled guiltily to this morning to and was not found guilty, that is an important distinction,” Rothband said. “The next step is that he complies with those rules. What will happen after two years is that this case will be dismissed.”
Barrix’s other attorney Michael Deegan shared Rothband’s feeling about what took place in court on Wednesday.
“I am pleased with it. Our client is pleased. Like Mr. Rothband was saying earlier we certainly think this should have been in a civil court. There were a lot of factors that we feel guided it to a criminal case,” Deegan said. “The bottom line is that we think our client is pleased with the outcome.”
Deegan said that Barrix has already paid the $45,000 in restitution. If Barrix’s deferred adjunction were to get revoked, he will face two years in a state jail facility and a $10,000 fine.
Nance said the restitution that Barrix has paid is only a small token of what is actually owned to homeowners and subcontractors.
“The restitution is a penitence of what he owed. If we could get all of the contractors that were building in Midtowne that he owes, you would find that there are hundreds of thousands of dollars that he has not paid,” Nance said. “I know for a fact that Mr. Fincher alone was about a $40,000 loss because I helped him finish the construction by coordinating contractors. I know that mine was approximately $13,000. At the end of the day, this was a slap on the wrist.”
Contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1451. Follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI.