A Montana roofing contractor already sentenced for fraud in two Montana counties is now facing accusations of cheating a customer in that state’s most populous city, Billings, with theft by deception, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of deceptive business practices.
William Lee Dunmire, 51, faces allegations in Yellowstone County District Court after allegedly conning a woman in Billings out of thousands of dollars by taking money for roofing work and failing to deliver, according to reports first published in the Billings Gazette.
Dunmire was previously sentenced for similar crimes in Silver Bow and Lewis and Clark counties.
According to reports, in October 2019, investigators with the Billings Police Department responded to a fraud report from a Billings resident alleging that Dunmire, through his company, Peak Roofing, entered into an agreement with the convicted fraudster to complete her roof in late August.
Dunmire told the customer he could measure the roof from his home through GPS, according to charging documents, and allegedly accepted $4,000 as a down payment from the customer via electronic transfer.
Several weeks passed without the defendant coming to the victim’s home, court documents said, and when the customer demanded a full refund, according to text exchanges between the two, Dunmire allegedly made several excuses for the refund being delayed.
He first told her he could not give the money back until the cost of his materials was credited by his supplier, charging documents said, then later said the refund had to be approved by a corporate office in Wisconsin.
The Billings Gazette also noted that, while speaking with a Billings officer, the customer provided law enforcement with reporting from the Montana Standard regarding other charges of fraud Dunmire faced.
Silver Bow County District Court Judge District Judge Kurt Krueger sentenced Dunmire to prison in June after revoking his suspended sentence, the Montana Standard reported. Dunmire was convicted of taking tens of thousands of dollars from Butte customers under the guise that he would repair roofs, only never to commit to those repairs and mislead those customers about the amount and types of materials he purchased.
His original sentence of 15 years in prison for theft by deception and forgery by the Silver Bow County District Court was initially suspended, but the trial judge revoked that suspension after Dunmire failed to make restitution payments to his victims; at the time of his revocation, he still owed nearly $67,000 in restitution, the Billings Gazette reported.
In Lewis and Clark County, according to the Montana Standard, Dunmire also received a suspended sentence for deceptive practices, theft by deception and forgery. The Gazette noted that fraud cases in Montana rose steadily from 2017 to 2021, according to data from the Montana Board of Crime Control, going from around 2,200 to nearly 2,500.
Yellowstone County prosecutors filed criminal charges against Dunmire in January 2021. He is currently scheduled to appear for trial next month. If convicted of theft by deception, he could be sentenced to an additional three years in prison.