Contractor took checks but never built patios, decks in 5 Northern Virginia counties

A Northern Virginia contractor has pleaded guilty to taking down-payments for patio and deck projects that were never built in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier counties, and will also soon stand trial in Stafford County.

Ryan Vanover, 40, of Haymarket, pleaded guilty Tuesday to contractor fraud in Fairfax County Circuit Court, as part of a proposed plea agreement. According to the proffer read in court, Vanover continually delayed working on the project, saying his father was very sick.

Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate set a sentencing date of Dec. 16. The proposed plea agreement would have Vanover be sentenced to five years in prison, with all of it suspended. Vanover would serve five years of supervised probation, and then remain under unsupervised probation until he paid restitution to three customers who provided down-payments of $14,500, $9,900, and $7,000, respectively.

Azcarate said setting the date for December would give Vanover “time to pay some of that restitution down, as that may play a role in whether I accept the plea.”

After his client pleaded guilty to the Fairfax County count of construction fraud, attorney Charles “Ash” Dean declined to talk about Vanover’s previous guilty pleas in neighboring jurisdictions.

According to court records obtained by WTOP, Vanover pleaded guilty to six felony counts of contractor fraud in Loudoun County.

The range of sentencing on each count is one to 20 years in prison, or up to 12 months in jail and no more than a $2,500 fine. The judge has the final say in handing down the sentence.

The plea agreement reached between the defense and prosecutors in Loudoun County states Vanover will also serve five years of supervised probation upon his release, followed by unsupervised probation until he pays restitution to victims totaling $260,590.

In Prince William County, Vanover pleaded guilty to two felony counts of failure to perform promise for construction, in return for advances. He is due to be sentenced in Manassas on Oct. 7.

Last month, in Fauquier County, Vanover pleaded guilty to two counts of construction fraud, and will be sentenced in November. He remains free on bail.

In Stafford County, Vanover is set to go on trial for three felony counts; embezzlement, construction fraud, obtaining money under false pretenses.

According to the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission, Vanover’s business, Vanguard Outdoor Living, was incorporated in 2016, and was dissolved in June 2022.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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