§ 43-13. Funds paid to general contractor or subcontractor must be used to pay persons performing labor or furnishing material.Look, I know this is an obscure statute put on the books in 1932. I know old statutes can be labyrinthine. Still, it's been 75 years; can't somebody fix this?
Any contractor or subcontractor or any officer, director or employee of such contractor or subcontractor who shall, with intent to defraud, retain or use the funds, or any part thereof, paid by the owner or his agent, the contractor or lender to such contractor or by the owner or his agent, the contractor or lender to a subcontractor under any contract for the construction, removal, repair or improvement of any building or structure permanently annexed to the freehold, for any other purpose than to pay persons performing labor upon or furnishing material for such construction, repair, removal or improvement, shall be guilty of larceny in appropriating such funds for any other use while any amount for which the contractor or subcontractor may be liable or become liable under his contract for such labor or materials remains unpaid, and may be prosecuted upon complaint of any person or persons who have not been fully paid any amount due them.
The use by any such contractor or subcontractor or any officer, director or employee of such contractor or subcontractor of any moneys paid under the contract, before paying all amounts due or to become due for labor performed or material furnished for such building or structure, for any other purpose than paying such amounts, shall be prima facie evidence of intent to defraud.
BTW: While checking thru case law on this statute I ran across this in Overstreet v. Commonwealth, 1951, 193 Va. 104:
On the day of his trial Overstreet had not completed his contract with Horne, but the latter had paid him a total of $2,400 thereon, leaving a balance of $200 due when all of the work was completed according to the contract. Defendant, however, has never made any payment on the Broaddus account, and the latter has reduced the debt to judgment.If any defense attorneys out there find yourself here in Wise to defend someone in a case I'm prosecuting, I urge you to adopt the "honorable man" defense. ;-)
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On cross-examination, the defendant, when asked with reference to specific items on his material account, and whether or not he had any receipted bill, any memorandum, other writing, or record showing the payment of them, replied that he had nothing with him. He said he did not have an account book, but did have at his home accounts or memoranda which would support his testimony. Asked why he did not bring the books or accounts, receipts or other evidence with him, he replied that he did not think it was necessary because he was a man of honor and did not propose to tell anything but the truth.
The trial judge tells us that the defendant's manner of testifying 'was arrogant, elusive and evasive.'