He admits to being a swindler and pleaded for a chance to make up for the crime. Ross Sherwood admitted fraud by accepting a $1,200 rental deposit on a house he didn't own.
"He said he was the owner," said Silvia Van Zandt, a scam victim. "We, in good faith, rented a property, and then found out it was nothing but a scam."
Sherwood's plea for probation was denied. He's now sentenced to a year in prison. When leaving court, we asked him for comment.
"You know what I'd like to say to you Mike?" Sherwood said, being led away in handcuffs.
Implying he pulled the rental scam when the economy slumped, Sherwood claims his remodeling business is recovering.
Before sentencing, Sherwood told the judge not only would he be punished by being sent to prison, innocent homeowners would be as well. He says he's working on four remodeling projects that he can't finish if he's behind bars, but the prosecutor says that excuse doesn't cut it.
"This is something that's separate from having a poor business dealing or poor year," said prosecutor John Alagaban. "This is something where he took advantage of two people."
Sherwood promised restitution but the victims are satisfied he got prison time instead.
"I feel that he would probably just do this to somebody else just to get the money to pay us, and I wouldn't be comfortable accepting it," Van Zandt said.
For the next several months, the long-time Omaha remodeling contractor will be working in the big house.
The prosecutor believes that under Nebraska's "good time" law, Sherwood will serve at least six months of the one-year prison sentence for "theft by deception."