Local contractor gets jail time and a job

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Local roofer Ken Bird is headed to the Kent County Jail for four months for fraud.  Judge George Buth sentenced him Wednesday. So far, he must also repay $224,000 in restitution to his victims, but we're told that figure may fluctuate.

Bird also found employment, so the judge granted work release. That means he'll serve time but will be let out of jail to work. A construction company hired him, plus he's a waiter.

Bird didn't speak in court, but his defense attorney Molly Bourbeau explained to the judge how Bird got into trouble. "He fell on hard times when several customers failed to pay him around $110,000,"  Bourbeau said.

The judge reminded Bird's attorney of her client's wrongdoing: taking money from customers and not doing any work. In February, he pleaded guilty to defrauding customers.

The FOX 17 Problem Solvers have spoken with several of Bird's clients and subcontractors since late summer 2014, including the Malones from Ada.

The Malones gave Bird a $9,000 downpayment in June 2014 and never heard from him again.

"We couldn't get anything but lies out of him is what it turned out to be. He would make promises," Ken Malone said.

It's this repeated crime Bird pleaded guilty to, although an assistant Kent County prosecutor said all his victims haven't been accounted for.

"Mr. Bird takes full responsibility and wants nothing more than to pay everybody back," defense attorney Bourbeau said. "He has been able to find secure, permanent employment and with Outdoor Construction Services LLC."

It's a second chance of sorts. Outside the courtroom, FOX 17 spoke with Bob Burt, who said Bird did his roof some years ago and did a good job. Now Burt wants to help Bird get back on his feet.

"We want to utilize him in our company to help our company because we want to put forth a very high quality product," Burt said.

"We're a family-oriented Christian company," he continued, "we want to help him take care of them we feel as much for the customer as we do him."​

The company said they're contacting all of the people who Bird has an unfulfilled contract with, and they're offering to finish up the roofing jobs. Customers would then pay the rest of the contract.

Bird also got three years probation.

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  • CommonSense

    This judge is a d-bag. This POS steals $224,000 dollars and gets a slap on the wrist. If anyone else stole that much money they would be put in prison and not out on work release. I’ve seen car thieves who steal a $2000 car get a much longer sentence than this. This judge needs to be removed from the bench!

  • GoodGrief

    He’s not who he says he is at all. Says he wants to make it right but instead he was drinking, hanging out on dating apps and smoking weed. Way to focus on making it right, no wonder the jobs didn’t get done. Many people have helped him out, loaned him money to get on his feet and yet he lies and continues to do nothing to better himself, or his 8 kids for that matter. Burning more bridges. Lets hope you don’t screw over this company that has so much faith in you, because you sure didn’t mind screwing over innocent people and even people that care about you.

  • therealist

    The idea behind sentencing those type of crimes..is to get the convicted working immediately for a real job and real weekly paycheck, to Start repaying Victims ASAP! The Court via The Probation Department Collects the Money from thee Convicted, and the Court & Probation office decide how to split it up as far as victims in the most need…the Court then sends the money to the victims..they do not rely on the Convict to send the money..The Court & Probation supervise, collect restitution, and forward it to victims. Hence: The small sentence, as they are looking out for the victims….a little money out of him is better than none..if he is in jail/prison..he will not be working nor paying victims either! See more at my blog: grrealist.bloigspot.com

    • Commonsense

      That could be said for any crime where a theft is concerned. First thing should be to seize any property of his including tools, vehicles, home, etc…. then he serves the time for the huge theft he committed. Do you understand that this POS STOLE $224,000.00??? Let’s say a thief goes in a jewelry store unarmed and reaches behind a counter and steals 50 rings worth $224,000.00 and walks away and sells them for drugs. He later gets caught and convicted. Should he get the same light sentence and this dirt bag?

  • Beaverhousen1

    I KNOW “Exactly” where ALL the $224,000- went, As I was ‘Hired’ (I say hired loosely as I NEVER received NOR saw a Dime of the $86,000- that Was Brought Into His Company via New Roof Sales Jobs from July 1st 2014 thru Sept. 15th 2014!) The Money was NOT used for Employees Wages nor Roofing Materials for Jobs or Actual Bills associated with Any Normal Business. It in Fact was CONSTANTLY “Taken Out of Business Bank Account BY BIRD PERSONALLY” For HIS Trailer Park Girlfriend & His as Well, HUGE Prescription Medication Addiction(s) AND so He Could Afford the 2012 CADILLAC DTS payments for his Tramp @ $800- Month, NOT including Insurance btw! That’s JUST naming a FEW, problem EVERYONE had who worked there was we all knew the ONLY way to ensure we got ANY pay/wages whatsoever was to Continue Working there, SO WE WOULD BE AWARE & KNOW WHEN MONEY CAME IN. And Yes He is Indeed Married with 8 Kids, and ALSO was Financing THAT Household with COMPANY MONEY in Addition to The Trailer Trash Skank who Seemed to ONLY Show-Up @ the Office on Days that Money/Checks/New Roof Jobs 1/2 Downs had been Collected, with Bird & Her Disappearing Suddenly & NOT Coming back into Office for Days. Naturally ANY & ALL MONEY was Now Completely Gone, with Bird Claiming It Went towards Bills or Materials or Alledgedly Trying to Convince Us that the Bank “Put a Hold on It”? Meanwhile, I personally Brought In OVER $12,000- JUST in Past Due Collections from Customers and Businesses that Owed a Balance (All w/Good Reasons for Doing So Too) and That Money was EARMARKED For Unpaid Wages AND To Use as Money to Buy Materials, ENSURING the Ppl that PAID 1/2 Down’s were FINALLY provided their Roofs! As I Had Quit Many Weeks Before BUT Was Made Aware by Many of the Payee’s that they had Sent Payment(s) AND knew of Birds Habits of NEVER PAYING EMPLOYEES, so they informed us so that we’d IMMEDIATLY Let Bird know we KNEW the Money was Available to Partially PAY WEEKS & WEEKS of BACK OWED WAGES to Employees (Past & Present)! Yet NOT 1 Cent was EVER seen by ANY of Us, and this was AFTER he’d been arrested & charged Fraud, approx End of November to December 2014. Yet Oddly enough He was Bragging to whoever would listen to His stupid ass that His Wife (who’d seperated from him via the Trailer Trash Girlfriend Months Earlier AND He Desperately Wanted Back Now) Got a Boob Job, of which She’d Wanted for long time. Then when asked ‘How did You afford a $8900- boob job bird’? He replied He’d “Finally” received Money “HE” was Owed from Past Due Collections (Not 1 finger lifted nor 1 call EVER made by bird To work-out issues With the ppl that Still owed $$$, that was Done SOLELY by me on MY time, to ENSURE Ppl finally GOT PAID and To HAVE MONEY TO GET STARTED W/All the Paid For Roof Jobs HE PROMISED he’d STILL DO! As NO Roofing Material Co.’s would extend even a complimentary Pen to Him, CASH ONLY!) So Im JUST CURIOUS at How During ALL the Legal Shenanigans & Constant Crying re: Him being SO Broke to All the News Stations, that He AND the Wife Felt this was THE BEST USE OF THE MONEY THAT HE DID NOTHING TO EVEN DESERVE NOR EARNED, Should Be Used For? F**KING WOW