Galveston contractor indicted for allegedly stealing thousands from elderly

A Galveston contractor accused of scamming dozens of victims out of thousands of dollars has now been indicted by a grand jury.

Prosecutors at the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office say John Thomas, 32, was indicted by a grand jury on December 5.

Thomas is now being charged with first degree felony theft of property. He’s accused of stealing up to $200,000 from multiple elderly victims. Additional victims came forward since FOX 26 first aired the story about Thomas, who allegedly duped a 98-year-old World War II veteran out of thousands of dollars.

After months of back-and-forth trips to meet with investigators, Kella Dohring said the news of John Thomas's indictment is a huge relief to her and her elderly parents.

“My mom was literally in tears. I was terrified he was going to retaliate against my parents or something like that,” Dohring said.

Dohring said the contractor with Thomas Custom Homes in Galveston first met with her 98-year-old father, Peter Santo in May.

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“It's unbelievable. I've lived so long and I never thought I'd be a victim,” Santo said. 

Thomas apparently promised the World War II veteran he could fix his patio to comply with state standards. Dohring said Thomas eventually began adding more issues he'd found to the renovation list, quoting a higher price each time.

In total, Dohring said her family paid Thomas more than $7,000.

“He did no work in our house at all. He just took our money and he did nothing,” Dohring said.

The Santos' are not the only ones. After FOX 26 aired their story in July, multiple other victims came forward with similar complaints, including Ralph Frazier.

Frazier claims Thomas stole more than $25,000 from his 93-year-old father after Hurricane Harvey.

“Every day that he's not in jail, he's scamming somebody else out of money. He doesn't care who it is. He doesn't care how old they are. He doesn't care if it's their last dime or they don't have anything to eat,” Frazier said.

“He is dangerous and he needs to be stopped because he’s just going to continue to do it over and over again,” Dohring said.

Prosecutors with the Galveston County District Attorney's Office said investigators are still searching for the accused thief.

If convicted, Thomas could face anywhere from five years to life in prison.