Licensing Did Not Prevent This....?

Former home inspector won’t be prosecuted for alleged ring theft in Mandeville

Posted by rrhoden June 12, 2007 4:20PM

By Bruce Hamilton

St. Tammany bureau

A home inspector accused of stealing a $12,000 ring from a Mandeville house will not be tried for theft because the St. Tammany Parish district attorney’s office had already agreed not to prosecute him when it pressed charges.

Sterling Cardon, 53, originally was booked with felony theft in August 2003 after a Mandeville woman said he stole her diamond and sapphire ring. The district attorney placed Cardon in a diversion program for first-time offenders.
But after Cardon pleaded no contest in September 2004 to another theft charge in a different jurisdiction, prosecutors reinstated the case. His attorney appealed, and the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered that his motion to toss out the charge be granted.

“It certainly was the right result,” said Cardon’s attorney, Robert C. Stern, adding that his client never violated the terms of his diversion agreement. “A contract is a contract is a contract.”

The ring’s owner, Heather Conklin, said she noticed it was missing just minutes after Cardon left her home, which he had been inspecting. The ring was in a closed, leather box that held other jewelry and rested against a mirror, she said.

Cardon said the ring accidentally fell into his work bag after he received an upsetting phone call and threw the bag against the wall, knocking over a dish. He allegedly returned the upended jewelry to the dish and didn’t realize the ring was in his bag until police contacted him.

Conklin’s listed phone number is disconnected, and she could not be reached for this article. She previously called Cardon’s story “laughable” and protested his participation in the diversion program as a “slap on the wrist.”

After Cardon signed the contract to enter the diversion program, he pleaded no contest in Jefferson Parish to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft for stealing a Rolex watch worth several thousands of dollars during a home inspection in February 2002.

For that charge, he received a six-month suspended sentence, was put on six months of probation and was ordered to pay for cleaning and repairing the watch. His former business partner, Carrie Booker, told police he gave it to her as a birthday gift.

St. Tammany prosecutors said that plea violated the terms of his agreement, which includes a provision against committing any other criminal acts, and they revived the case against him.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal denied Stern’s appeal, but the high court granted it unanimously earlier this year. “The defendant did not violate the law anew or participate in new criminal conduct after he signed the agreement not to prosecute,” its ruling said.

“The language of the agreement, with regard to its prohibition of committing a ‘new’ offense is, at least, ambiguous as to a guilty plea entered after the signing of the agreement to criminal behavior which occurred prior to the signing of the agreement.”

The district attorney dropped the charge May 22. Spokesman Rick Wood said Cardon has fulfilled the requirements of the diversion program, including performing 36 hours of community service, paying a supervisory fee and returning the ring.

Meanwhile, the former Chalmette resident pleaded no contest in March 2005 to a misdemeanor charge of attempting to receive a stolen $5,000 boat trailer in St. Bernard Parish.

He was given a suspended sentence of one year in jail as part of a plea agreement, and he also was ordered to make restitution of $5,000 to Booker, his former business partner. The state board of home inspectors revoked his license.

(Bruce Hamilton can be reached at or (985) 898-4827.)

Licensing solves nothing.](“”)

But… Didn’t he pass the NHIE, how could this happen?

It surely won’t save us from you! :slight_smile:

Oooops, Red Square!

We did an Insurance Inspection in a Senior Citizens Town where the bi-coastal two homeowner fixed income client placed $100.00 bills on top of each dresser in all 3 bedrooms. The electrician brought it to my attention and I took photos.

I told the wife about it and mentioned that if their Agent saw this when she came by with the papers, she may be considered a Risk.
The wife was still screaming at her husband as we left.

He didn’t pass pass nachi’s ethics test.

Hey, that is the way its done in New York, actually that is the way its done in New Jersey, in New York there would have been a case of beer sandwiched between the cash & the top of the dresser. :mrgreen:

What does HOME INSECTION have to do with theft? You’re strectching James, you must be as bored as I am.

No, sir. The Missouri Association of Realtors, along with used house salesmen in other states, are beginning to argue the need for background checks and fingerprinting of home inspectors…ignoring the fact that (according to the Missouri State Police) there are more real estate agents with criminal records than any other licensed profession.

So, are you now FOR licencing?!!

With stricter criteria?


You can provide that statement from the Missouri State Police I suppose.

Yes, I can.

So diamonds are not forever!

You should post the link here so that some people won’t think you’re fabricating statements.

A thief is a thief regardless and should be punished as such.

Do you think I am lying, Lewis?

Looks to me as though the Louisana Licensing Regs for Licensing worked in weeding the industry of a scumball. If anything perhaps the licensed lawyer’s and judges ethics should have been questioned.

Licensing should never be construed as a means of solving something. Even the justice system (as seen above) fails at solving something. They have been throwing thieves in jail for years and it still has not solved the situation. Heck some states (most) license hand-guns, etc. where has that gotten us. What did it solve, well nothing. Licensing has never been nor will it ever be a means of solving anything. It is used merely as a means of regulation and some assemblence of order to prevent or restrict gross negligence and often times immoral and substandard performance.

You got it.

Licensing solves nothing.

Bushart, sometimes you make me tired, my friend. To use the example of one thieving licensed home inspector as “proof” that licensing “solves nothing” is beneath your intellectual capabilities. Licensing won’t keep all underhanded individuals out of the business, but it will cull out a lot of “sign hangers.” I’m sorry, but the market won’t do that simply because there will always be another one to take the place of the one who went belly-up. And how many of these unethical and unlicensed individuals can now get lots of referrals from their like-minded rats among the RE agents? You intimated once that you might support the right kind of licensing law…ok, why not use your considerable influence in getting one passed that is both non-punitive to good people wishing to enter the business and raises the bar at the same time?

Good question and worthy of a thoughtful answer…

The reason why I do not advocate what some refer to as “good legislation” can be illustrated best by what is happening today in Texas and New York.

Laws are political instruments and many have discovered the following, as the legislative wheels have turned in other states:

  1. One can spend months drafting a good law, push it through the legislature and watch the compromises come into play so that - when the law comes out of committee and goes for a vote - is something you are forced to oppose. (Florida, 2006 - After heavily lobbying for the bill, even ASHI helped influence the governor’s decision to veto it).

  2. Once a law is passed and put into effect, any minor detail not addressed in the law is up to “others” to decide. When those “others” happen to be your competitors who want your business, you are in trouble. (New York, 2007)

  3. Even years after a law is passed, a legislator with a selfish and personal agenda can sneak through an amendment and change your law into something that puts you out of business. (Texas, 2007)

Nothing good comes from legislation that could not have come from some other source.

Licensing solves nothing.