Probation given after Heber Springs HVAC man reaches plea agreement for thefts | News
A former employee of a heating and air company in Heber Springs was given seven years of probation after reaching a plea deal in White County Circuit Court last week over two thefts, including one related to Social Security disability benefits.
Jason T. Julian, 40, of Heber Springs was charged with Class C felony and Class B felony property theft in matters related to his job at Affordable Air Hot and Cold LLC. He accepted a negotiated deal with the Attorney General’s 17th District Prosecutor’s Office on June 8. In his guilty plea, Julian wrote that he pleaded no objection to the Class C felony charges. However, ar.courts.gov shows that he negotiated pleaded guilty to the charge.
In the Class C felony case, according to an affidavit written by Detective Steven Cochran of the White County Sheriff’s Office, the owner of Affordable Air told detectives in November 2019 that Julian had “collected multiple unauthorized cash payments” from a homeowner in West Center. Street in Beebe for work he completed from February 13, 2019 to May 1, 2019.
It was learned that Julian had impersonated the business owner and accepted cash payments when the homeowner, “outraged at what he perceived to be poor work done by Julian,” contacted the company, Cochran wrote.
Only $1,257 for the services was reportedly given to the company by Julian, leaving $6,642 “unexplained.”
Julian was employed by Affordable Air from June 2013 to August 2019, according to an affidavit written by Special Agent Charles M. Briscoe, but failed to report his employment to the Social Security Administration, leading to an “estimated fraud loss” of $75,000 in disability. benefits before his payments were canceled after September 2018 for “medical enhancement.”
Julian reportedly filed for benefits in November 2010 after a car accident. The Searcy office, which covers Cleburne County, “was tasked with making an initial eligibility decision, as well as issuing various forms for the applicant to fill out.”
While working for Affordable Air, according to the affidavit, there was no record that Julian “reported complete and accurate work activities or earned income.” In addition, an assessment of his disability was reportedly conducted in 2014 and Julian “failed to report employment with Affordable Air.” In fact, he was responding to a report “that he hadn’t worked since his medical decision,” Briscoe wrote.
Another assessment was reportedly conducted in 2017, but as he “failed to provide truthful details regarding his earnings, the assessment did not result in Julian overpaying, meaning he was not required to repay benefits. “
The owner of Affordable Air was interviewed and reportedly said that while Julian had been working there, “a portion of the salary” would be made payable to his wife and that Julian had told him that “he could only pay a certain amount per month.” otherwise he would have lost his ‘health insurance’.’ In 2014, because Julian’s wife “didn’t want 1099 forms in her name,” the company went back to issuing checks to Julian; however, in 2017 he requested that his checks be “applied to a credit card,” according to the affidavit. Reports confirmed the payment methods, Briscoe wrote.
Briscoe also wrote that “Julian’s reported tactics and overt moves to hide his pay and provide false information to the SSA allowed Julian to receive the SSA disability benefits under fraudulent pretexts.”
In 2018, when disability benefits ended, Julian reportedly asked for “a pay rise to cover the loss of benefits,” Affordable Air’s owner said. He was ordered during sentencing to repay $68,392.70 to the Social Security Administration in $100 increments beginning July 2.
Julian currently runs a heating and air company in Heber Springs. It was named Business of the Month in May by the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce.
A 40-year-old man from North Little Rock was also convicted of theft in White County Circuit Court last week. Joe Gorman Thompson III pleaded guilty to a negotiated deal for Class C theft by serving and getting five years in prison from the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Thompson, who has a criminal history of 5, was reportedly “confronted” by White County deputies for being in possession of a stolen truck at the Exxon gas station in El Paso on Feb. 26. The 2007 F250 was reported stolen to Searcy on January 28.
Thompson told officers that “he got the Ford from a friend after finding the truck on the side of the road,” Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Booth wrote in the affidavit. He also reportedly said that “he was told if he could get the truck loose, he could have it.”
Thompson, who was arrested and taken to the White County Detention Center, was sentenced to 96 days in prison.