A contractor is in the Ontario County Jail in connection with work allegedly left undone at a Canandaigua condo

CANANDAIGUA — Police say a contractor that the Daily Messenger's news partner News 10NBC has been investigating for months pocketed the money instead of using it on the project for which he had contracted. 

Contractor Alvis Sprague now calls the Ontario County Jail home. He has been charged with third-degree grand larceny and has been denied bail.

"It was because of a number of prior felony convictions and that contributed to the fact that bail was not accepted," said Ontario County Undersheriff Dave Tillman.

This isn't the first time Sprague has faced charges of ripping off his customers. He went to prison for the same thing in 2008. If found guilty of this recent charge, this will be his fifth felony.

Sprague recently appeared in small claims court in Rochester, when Susan Sipes was trying to recover some of the almost $17,000 she had paid him to remodel her condo in Canandaigua. Not only did he not finish by the promised date, experts also say his work was shoddy and dangerous.

Shortly after News 10NBC began its investigation of Sprague in the fall of 2016, the Ontario County sheriff's office launched an investigation of its own.

“It was then decided that the grand larceny charge was appropriate," said Tillman.

The New York Attorney general has published a home improvement fact sheet that points out that by law, your contractor is supposed to put your payment in an escrow account and use it only for your job.  Then if there's a dispute, the contractor can refund the consumer’s unused funds.

“That money should be readily available to the consumer again. But in this particular case, we can see that the money is not there,” said Tillman, referring to the money Sipes paid Sprague. So that landed Sprague behind bars.

Sipes, who lives in Seattle, said part of the challenge was trying to oversee the project from thousands of miles away. When she discovered that Sprague hadn’t honored the timeline, she contacted News 10NBC. And while she may never see her money, she's grateful that she may see justice.

"He's not going to go out and hurt other people and take their money, and so there's a lot of relief," said Sipes.

Sprague is to appear in court on Monday, March 5.