A local businessman is charged with several felonies after a grand jury found probable cause he misused funds from a business he owns with two other individuals.
Matt Burgess, 33, of Farmington, is charged with four class C felonies of receiving stolen property and a class D felony of stealing. The case went before the grand jury, which handed down the charges. He was arrested Sept. 1 and booked at the St. Francois County Jail, and later released on a $70,000 bond.
According to a probable cause statement, on June 20 an officer with the Farmington Police Department was contacted by a business partner of Burgess and another individual. The three were partners in a corporation titled Farmington Mo. Medical, LLC.
The man gave paperwork to the officer on behalf of the business and other partner. According to the man he was the controlling member of the corporation.
In the statement he provided, on Jan. 1 the corporation had $1,853.89 in a bank in Farmington. There were $8,013.08 in deposits which were accounted for and approved, and he said Burgess made four unauthorized transactions that were not used for company business from the account totaling $9,146.95.
The man told the investigator he had been contacting Burgess since April 21 to account for the withdrawals and Burgess has not been willing to respond.
St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin said the reporting party gave a lot more information during the grand jury hearing.
“He talked about the sizable transactions that took place,” said Mahurin. “I believe there were five transactions dealing with funds that had been used improperly. Some of it occurred even after we received the initial probable cause statement.”
Mahurin said the witness statements and testimony were much more comprehensive and the additional information provided the basis on which the charges that were filed.
In addition to the charges, Burgess was involved in an unrelated lawsuit against another business he is involved in, MB Land Company, LLC. That case was ruled in the plaintiff’s favor.
According to court documents, on June 20 the court entered a default judgement against Burgess for failure to provide discovery responses and documents requested by the court. In March 2016, Emma Wessel hired Burgess’s company - MB Land Company, LLC. - to build a house for her and her brother in Farmington on or before June 21, 2016, for the amount of $221,547.
Wessel’s brother is a disabled Vietnam Veteran and currently lives in an assisted living facility. Documentation provided to the court showed that MB Land Company owned the lot where the house was to be built.
Wessel understood that the contract price would be held in an escrow account and would be paid to MB Land in two installments. The escrow account, owned by Burgess and Zachary Govreau, was never funded. Records show that on April 19-20, 2016, MB Land deposited Wessel’s two checks, one for $3,000 and the other for $218,547, in the company's general fund. During the period from April 20 to April 29, Burgess and/or Govreau reportedly made withdrawals from the account for Bill.com, Capitol One, American Express, Chase, Graham Anderson, Missouri Land Rental, Butterfields Florist, Matt Burgess, Bret Burgess, Zack Govreau and Jessica Burgess.
According to court documents, none of the transactions were for payment costs associated with the construction of Wessel's house, but were for personal expenses of both Burgess and Govreau. By April 29 the balance of the account was $538.88.
The house was not completed by the deadline and Wessel was assured they would finish the house. The house was not completed by the filing date of the lawsuit on Nov. 22, 2016.
The civil suit alleged Burgess and Govreau continued to make inappropriate withdrawals from the account for other jobs, but not the house during that time period. According to the court documents, the house still remains unfinished and based on the price list originally provided it would cost $47,204.89 to complete the home.
Wessel claimed she incurred damages in the form of expenses to pay for her brother’s assisted living care at a time when he should have been in the new home.
The court's findings and judgement in the case were in Wessel’s favor. She received possession of the home, although it was discovered during the hearing that the property itself was owned by Silas Properties, LLC. The court made no initial determination regarding the deed to the parcel the house was built on.
MB Land Company was also ordered to pay Wessel a sum of $138,854.07 for damages.