Shady Metro Detroit contractors sentenced after home remodeling disasters

A contractor who has cheated scores of people faces jail while his wife, who helped him, has been given a suspended sentence.

Darrin Ballard is a Conman builder who was featured in a Summer 2020 Hall of Shame story. After this story, other victims came forward, leading to more stories.

There was also his wife Caroline who tried to take the heat out of Darrin when Rob Wolchek confronted him but ended up just getting involved in the plan.

Wolchek: “Does that make you feel bad?”

Caroline: “No comment.”

Wolchek: I kinda feel like Darrin tricked you into doing all that.

Caroline: “No comment.”

Darrin and Caroline Ballard

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

When she googled the guy, he found out that he was a lifelong felon with tons of fraud convictions in his past. And in the present he never completed their reconstruction.

After FOX 2 aired this story, Wolchek heard from Steve, Sterna, Jennifer, Lance and Marlene all saying Darrin Ballard and Hatt Construction took their money and did either a terrible job or no job at all.

When Wolchek confronted Darrin, he denied he was running a scam: β€œYes, yes. I ripped people off a long time ago… I don’t do that anymore.”

And when Caroline Ballard was asked if she was doing unlicensed contractor jobs, which he’d been fined multiple times for, she admitted to owning Hatt Construction.

Caroline: “I understand you have a problem with his offense but if you look at me and my record and yes I’m young. Maybe I didn’t know I had to have a contractor’s license.”

Wolchek: “Then why don’t you get a craftsman’s license?”

Caroline: “I don’t really know how to do this. 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 destroyed 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 couple.

Last month, Caroline Ballard pleaded no objection to being an unlicensed contractor, a misdemeanor, and no objection to attempting to misrepresent more than a thousand dollars.

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

Wolchek: “You know that Francine is a nice woman. You know that. Does that make you feel bad?”

Caroline: “Have a nice day now. No comment.”

And now, in the Macomb County Circuit courtroom, Darrin is being convicted by Judge Joseph Toia.

He pleaded no contestation of pretenses for crimes, allegations of wrongdoing and being an unlicensed contractor. And Darrin’s a habitual offender, so he’s in big trouble.

Wolchek spoke to him in court.

Wolchek: “I hope you pack your things together. You gotta stop messing around. You don’t want to go to jail again, do you?”

Darrin: “No, sir.”

But he’s going to jail and he knows it.

“To my wife and family, I love you. And to everyone else whose time I wasted, I’m really sorry and I want to make it right,” he said.

Darrin was sentenced to one year in prison plus $10,000 in damages.

And Ballard’s ballad comes to an end. Let’s hope there are no more verses.

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