A Coeburn man faces prison time for multiple counts of construction fraud.
James Orza Miller, 51, of Coeburn, was sentenced Aug. 20 in Wise County Circuit Court, according to a release from Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp.
Miller pleaded in June to five counts of fraud against five victims, along with a probation violation. He entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged there was sufficient evidence to convict him.
Miller was sentenced to 35 years in prison with 30 years suspended. He will serve an active term of five years, followed by at least 20 years of probation. Miller also must pay restitution to the victims.
Miller’s sentence in Wise will run consecutively with more than two years of prison time he received on a Lee County construction fraud case earlier this year.
At the hearing, Miller admitted that he “got too big for my britches,” was “in over my head,” and started “robbing from Peter to pay Paul,” according to the release.
Between February and August 2018, Miller obtained money advances from the five victims and promised to perform construction work. At the time, Miller was on probation in Wise County for similar crimes he committed in 2010. Several victims from the 2010 case testified that they had not been paid restitution Miller owed and called him a “predator.”
Senior Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Ken Lammers was the lead prosecutor on this case.
Slemp praised the efforts of Wise County Sheriff's Department investigators for making the convictions possible.