Shady Metro Detroit contractors sentenced after home remodeling disasters

A contractor who scammed numerous people is headed to jail, while his wife who helped him was sentenced to probation.

Darrin Ballard is a conman builder featured in a Hall of Shame story in the summer of 2020. After that story, other victims came forward, leading to more stories.

There was also his wife Caroline who tried to take the heat off Darrin when Rob Wolchek confronted him, but she ended up just implicating herself in the scheme.

Wolchek: "Do you feel bad about this?"

Caroline: "No comment."

Wolchek: "I kinda feel like you got tricked by Darrin into doing all this.  Did you?"

Caroline: "No comment."

Darrin and Carolyn Ballard

Darrin and Caroline Ballard

In 2020, Michelle paid a company called Hatt Construction to do some remodeling, but got a bad feeling when supposed contractor Darrin Ballard kept putting off her job. And when he did show up just walked in her door.

When she googled the guy, he found out he was a lifelong felon with tons of fraud convictions in his past. And in the present, he never finished her remodeling.

After FOX 2 aired that story., Wolchek heard from Steve, Sterna, Jennifer, Lance, and Marlene., who all said Darrin Ballard and Hatt Construction took their money and either did terrible work or no work at all.

When Wolchek confronted Darrin, he denied he was running a scam: "Yeah yeah.  I ripped off people long ago...I don't do that anymore."

And when asked doing jobs without a contractor's license, something he'd been convicted of several times, Caroline Ballard admitted she's the owner of Hatt Construction.

Caroline: "I understand that you have a problem with his felony record but if you look at me and my record and yeah, I'm young. Maybe I didn't know I had to have a contractor's license."

Wolchek: "So why don't you  get a contractor's license?"

Caroline: "I don't know exactly how to go about that.  I'm new to this. I've only had this company for three years."

After that, Wolchek met Francine. Darrin and Caroline Ballard promised to build her a new kitchen. Instead, they demolished her kitchen and left her alone, in a wheelchair, in a pandemic, in a house that now had no kitchen and no flooring.

Warren police saw the story and soon arrested the pair.

Last month, Caroline Ballard pleaded no contest to being a contractor without a license, a misdemeanor, and no contest to attempted false pretenses more than a thousand dollars.

She was sentenced last week to probation, community service and restitution to her victims, including Francine, of almost $14,000.

Wolchek: "You know Francine is a nice lady. You know that. You feel bad about that?"

Caroline: "You have a nice day now.  No comment."

And now Darrin is being sentenced in Judge Joseph Toia's Macomb County Circuit courtroom.

He pleaded no contest to felony false pretenses, misdemeanor false pretenses and being a contractor without a license.  And Darrin is a habitual offender, so he's in big trouble.

Before court, Wolchek spoke to him.

Wolchek: "I hope you get your stuff together. You gotta quit messing up man. You don't want to go to jail again do you?"

Darrin: "No sir."

But he is going to jail, and he knows it.

"To my wife and my family, I love you. And anybody else I've wasted their time, I'm just really sorry, and I want to make it right," he said.

Darrin was sentenced to a year in county jail plus $10,000 in restitution.

And the ballad of Ballard comes to a close. Let's hope there are no more verses.