Judge Weighs Personal Liability of Holy Ground Tiny Homes Owner in Alleged Theft Case

Judge Weighs Personal Liability of Holy Ground Tiny Homes Owner in Alleged Theft Case

A judge in Centennial is currently deliberating whether the sole owner of Holy Ground Tiny Homes, Matt Sowash, can be held personally liable for the alleged theft of a customer’s deposit. This decision marks the first court verdict regarding the Englewood-based company, which collected $6 million in deposits from 180 customers who never received their promised houses.

Last year, an investigation revealed that a portion of the funds was spent on lavish trips to Las Vegas, limousine rides, spas, and the purchase of two dozen vehicles. Some of the money remains unaccounted for. Notably, Sowash has a prior criminal record, having served nearly two years in prison in the 2000s for stealing $470,000 from investors in a poker league and a Vegas poker tournament.

During the half-day civil trial on Monday, Sowash faced questioning from attorney Paul Grant, who represents Morgan Daniels, a North Carolina woman who paid a 100% deposit of $35,248 to Holy Ground in 2021. Daniels testified that she was promised her tiny home would be delivered within six months, but it never arrived. After receiving only $11,000 as a refund, she sued Sowash for theft when the remainder was denied.

Under oath, Sowash admitted that the deposited funds were used for the general operations of the business but was unable to account for where specific amounts went. He defended the expenditure of customer deposits on various vehicles, claiming that Holy Ground was running a side business as a used car dealership. Sowash also suggested that the deposits may have been considered investments or even donations, as Holy Ground was initially established as a Christian ministry before converting to a corporation.

Daniels, testifying virtually from her home in North Carolina, refuted Sowash’s claims, stating that she paid for a specific tiny house and not as a donation. Sowash’s own attorney, Brian DeBauche, attributed Holy Ground’s financial troubles and subsequent bankruptcy filing in 2022 to negative reporting by BusinessDen, which exposed the company’s failure to deliver homes despite accepting deposits.

As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, a plan was approved for Holy Ground to make quarterly payments totaling $3.8 million over five years to Daniels and the other 180 customers. However, there is no guarantee that any creditors, including Daniels, will receive any payment.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Don Toussaint is expected to render a verdict within the next week or two regarding the alleged theft of $24,000 from Daniels. If found guilty, Sowash may be ordered to pay three times the amount under the state’s civil theft statute.

During closing arguments, Grant emphasized that Sowash used Daniels’ money for purposes inconsistent with her intentions, highlighting the lack of accountability in Holy Ground’s financial practices. DeBauche, on the other hand, argued that Daniels’ deposit should be refunded but maintained that Sowash cannot be held personally liable since he did not personally benefit from the deposit.

Author: CrimeDoor

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