JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than a year after the News4JAX I-TEAM exposed the owner of a Jacksonville fence company for taking thousands of dollars from customers without doing the work, Glen Northrup pleaded guilty on Thursday to organized fraud, a second-degree felony.
He will have to wait until next month to find out what his sentence will be.
Back in June of 2022, the I-TEAM began investigating Northrup, 64, when customers contacted us for help to either get their money back or get their fence work completed. They told us they paid Northrup thousands of dollars in deposits for various fence projects, but the work was never done.
In all, more than 20 customers contacted the I-TEAM saying they were in the same situation and could no longer get in touch with Northrup.
The detective with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office who investigated Northrup stated in the arrest warrant that more than $19,000 was taken from customers but noted it appeared Northrup had stopped taking money from people after the I-TEAM’s first story aired on June 9, 2022.
And despite Northrup saying last June he would be selling items to pay people back, customers did not receive refunds or get their fence work done.
In August, Northrup was charged with organized fraud.
Northrup was allowed to leave court after pleading guilty Thursday morning and spoke to the I-TEAM outside. He reiterated what he told us in our initial story in June of 2022, that he was remorseful and still hoped to return customers’ money.
“I lost everything, everything,” he said. “I feel bad right now. The customers got to understand I’ve got to pay lawyers and all the fees I have to pay. I’ve got that paid and now we are going to move forward.”
He blames all of this on a bad situation with his business.
“My landlord come in and foreclosed on me so I couldn’t renew the lease, so I lost the business, I lost my home, I lost all my materials back there. I had 10-12 customers’ materials waiting to go, and then my help left, so I was left there holding the bag. Otherwise, I’d still be in business,” he explained. “I’m just going to get everybody paid back, that’s all I can say.”
Sean McAfee was one of the original complainants who said he’s glad Northrup is taking responsibility for his actions.
“Unfortunately, you know, personal circumstances shouldn’t, you know, feed over to your business’ results. But in this case, they did. I feel like, you know, I don’t hold any hard grudge against him. I feel like, you know, he’s doing alright for what he has, and maybe taking responsibility and paying for his crime will be ultimately the right thing for everybody,” McAfee said.
Northrup’s sentencing is set for Oct. 23. Organized fraud, a second-degree felony, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.