DENVER — The businessman accused of swindling individuals out of their life financial savings by promising to construct them tiny properties and never delivering is now the goal of a police investigation.
Matt Sowash, founding father of the Colorado-based nonprofit Holy Floor Tiny Homes, has additionally filed for chapter, court docket information revealed Wednesday.
A convicted felon who beforehand served two years in jail for bilking traders in unrelated ventures, Sowash made the transfer to guard his property only a month after he urged in an interview with NBC Information that he may not declare chapter “as a result of I can’t sit again and watch all these individuals lose properties.”
However Sowash sang a special tune in an Oct. 7 chapter submitting in Denver and in an Oct. 14 replace that he despatched to his prospects.
“This has actually been per week of change,” Sowash wrote. “I first need to apologize for this case. Sadly, submitting for Chapter 11 is the one method I can make sure that the enterprise is protected and that we will reside as much as our obligation of creating positive everybody will get their a refund.”
Sowash’s actions have additionally drawn the eye of the Englewood Police Division in Colorado, which confirmed it’s investigating the allegations in opposition to him and his nonprofit.
“I suppose this was anticipated,” mentioned buyer Lori Birckhead, who runs the By Religion Farm in Tennessee along with her husband, the place they develop contemporary greens for the needy.
“The factor that hurts essentially the most is, sure, we talked loads about religion,” she mentioned of Sowash. “A part of why I used to be buying from him was due to what I heard from him. He got here throughout as a godly particular person.”
Birckhead mentioned she wired $46,504 to Sowash in April for an 8-foot-by-28 foot house that she was going to placed on their land. She mentioned she was instructed it will be delivered in July.
“However right here we’re, and there’s no house,” she mentioned.
Birckhead mentioned that after she repeatedly known as and emailed Sowash’s workplace, she lastly heard from an assistant who mentioned it was would take as much as 27 months to ship the house she had paid for.
“That was once I employed a non-public investigator who did some digging and found that he (Sowash) didn’t have any property in his identify,” she mentioned.
Charles Dowling, a disabled Military veteran who lives close to Colorado Springs, mentioned he had some misgivings about shopping for a tiny house from Sowash.
“I felt bizarre about it, nevertheless it was a Christian group,” mentioned Dowling, 39. “That’s the one motive I went with it.”
However he’s been pressured to sleep on the couches of assorted pals as a result of the 30-foot home he ordered from Sowash, and for which he made a $22,000 down cost, didn’t arrive in July as promised.
“He’s nothing however a shyster, and nobody ought to ever do enterprise with this man,” Dowling mentioned.
Sowash didn’t reply Wednesday to a request for remark.
Tiny properties have been touted as an answer to homelessness and an inexpensive method for a lot of to place a roof over their heads as house costs throughout the nation have skyrocketed.
Sowash promoted the small residences on social media, together with to his 80,000 TikTok followers. Within the brief movies, he portrayed himself as an upbeat, God-fearing man who was providing inexpensive properties with financing and no credit score checks.
“For those that can’t pay for a home all of sudden, we will finance you. Holy Floor Tiny Houses. Get yours at this time,” Sowash mentioned in a single TikTok video.
“Nice home, accessible now, round $45,000 is what this goes for. Are available and take it away,” he mentioned in one other video, sporting a T-shirt adorned with “Religion Over Concern.”
Confronted with complaints and lawsuits from prospects who mentioned they have been stiffed, Sowash instructed NBC Information he by no means got down to make the most of anybody. However he conceded that he was unsure whether or not he would be capable to construct the 250 properties already paid for, in full or partially.
Sowash mentioned his firm was three years not on time due to provide chain issues and the rising price of development supplies. The properties are made at a warehouse in Arapahoe County in Colorado, the place he employs at the least 25 staff.
However Sowash isn’t any stranger to hassle. He was sentenced in 2009 to 5 years in jail for bilking greater than $470,000 from traders who gambled on an newbie poker league he had based. He additionally was convicted of stealing $140,000 from three different marks who thought he was in search of funding alternatives for them.
Deon Hampton reported from Denver, and Corky Siemaszko from New York Metropolis.