By Shereen Siewert
A 57-year-old Kronenwetter man already facing felony theft charges in two counties is being charged in yet another case in Marathon County.
Charges of theft by contractor against Lee A. Koeller were filed Oct. 31 in Marathon County Circuit Court after a Wausau homeowner told police she paid Koeller thousands of dollars for work at two separate homes that was never performed.
A second victim also reported paying Koeller, who operates Koeller Builds Plus LLC, $7,452 for work that was never performed, according to the criminal complaint.
In the Marathon County case, Koeller was summoned into court but failed to appear at a Nov. 14 hearing, prompting a judge to issue an arrest warrant. Koeller was arrested Dec. 18 and was transported to the Marathon County Jail, where he was released after posting a $900 cash bond.
Koeller was then summoned into Oneida County Circuit Court for felony charges of theft in a business setting. Those charges were filed Dec. 20. During an initial appearance Jan. 13, Koeller was freed on a signature bond.
Now, a third case has been filed against Koeller, once again in Marathon County. He is required to appear Feb. 13 to face charges of theft by contractor between $5,000 and $10,000 in a separate complaint filed against him, at which time a judge will set a new bond amount or continue his current bond.
The first homeowner to file a complaint against Koeller said she paid the contractor $3,850 by check for a $6,409 project, which was to be completed within about eight weeks.
But Koeller never started the work, offering multiple excuses by phone and text, court documents state.
The alleged victim initially tried to report the problem to police, who told her the issue was a civil — not a criminal — matter, according to court documents. But the homeowner persisted, eventually contacting the Marathon County District Attorney’s office to file a complaint.