Man who scammed 11 families out of $247,000 in barn building project sentenced to prison

HOUSTON – A man who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from families who hired and paid him to build barns, but never finished the projects, has been sentenced to prison. 

The Channel 2 Investigates team helped prosecutors bring him to justice.

Marcus Thompson is a big, burly, barn-building contractor that Channel 2 Investigates has been chasing down for almost three years now.

A man who has taken enormous amounts of money from hard-working families, promising to build them high-quality pole barns, but instead left them with jobs that were barely even started.

"Mr. Thompson defrauded 11 different families to the tune of $247,000 by accepting money and agreeing to perform work which was never performed," said  Valerie Turner, Harris County District Attorney Consumer Fraud Division.

Case in point: Kelly and Lauren Dyer of Houston, who paid Thompson $34,000 for a pole barn, but were left with a disaster -- no walls, no foundation, just some sloppy wood framing. 

"He lied, cheated and he stole from us... He was a fraud the whole way," Kelly Dyer said. 

And that's just the beginning.

Channel 2 Investigates first exposed Thompson and his crimes in December 2016  and shortly after that the Harris County District Attorney's Office charged Thompson with aggregate theft, a first-degree felony crime, punishable by up to 99 years to life in prison.

But even while he was awaiting trial,  out on bail, he attempted to scam more victims. 

"We have 22 extraneous victims and two of them occurred while Thompson was out on bond from this court," Turner said. 

Channel 2 Investigative reporter Bill Spencer asked, "So while he was out of jail on bail he's trying to steal from people?" 

Turner responded, "And he absolutely did, he stole from two more people while he was out on bond." 

But now, time is finally up for Thompson. 

In court this week, he has agreed to plead guilty and is asking for zero jail time. Channel 2 Investigates went down to court to talk with Thompson. 

As usual, Thompson said nothing. 

But it didn't matter because on this day Judge Amy Martin has the last word. 

Sending Thompson straight to prison. 

"He's going to serve 10 years in prison in the Texas Department of Corrections," Turner said. 

At long last, justice for all those people, who lost so much.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The above story has been corrected.