NE Ohio playground installer admits defrauding customers, sentenced to federal prison

Trail of customers nationwide defrauded
Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 18:46:07-04

CLEVELAND — A Northeast Ohio playground installer was sentenced to 31 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from churches, daycare centers and suppliers and failing to install expensive playground systems.

Christopher Hardin operated American Safety Systems that failed to deliver and install systems despite collecting hefty down payments.

You can read the plea deal here.

An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation in June, 2018 first uncovered a trail of victims nationwide.

Hardin apologized for his crime, telling U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Polster that he was "truly sorry from the bottom of my heart."

He also offered apologies to his family, the FBI and "most importantly—to all the victims."

"It was never my intention to mislead," Hardin said. "I took on too much."

Judge Polster ordered Hardin repay his victims $704,000 dollars and will serve a three year supervised release when he leaves prison.

Hardin will report to the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Lisbon, Ohio on Nov. 1.

You can read Hardin's sentencing here.