Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trials of Christian Longo

The Trouble Begins

Madison Longo
Madison Longo

In January 2000, when baby Madison was only a couple of months old, Chris quit his job and opened Final Touch Construction Cleaning. The business cleaned up construction sites and made brand new buildings ready for tenancy. Business was good, but the payroll grew too fast, and soon he was forging checks on his customer's bank account and bouncing payroll checks.

On February 16, 2000, a "Jason Joseph Fortner" took a new red Pontiac Montana minivan from a car lot in Sylvania, Ohio, for a test drive. The salesperson photocopied the phony driver's license and handed him the keys. Later that day, the red Montana arrived in Ypsilanti, at the Longos' home, where Chris replaced its license plate with one from another car. He would pay for the car, he rationalized, as soon as his undercapitalized business's receivables gained ground on its payroll expenditures.

Red Pontiac Minivan
Red Pontiac Minivan

Things were not going wellalready his crimes were escalating out of controlbut instead of owning up to his bad boy behavior and cleaning up his act, he threw gasoline on the fire. According to Matt Sabo and Bryan Denson of The Oregonian, by spring of 2000, Chris had started an extramarital affair with another of the Jehovah's Witnesses. MaryJane found out. The perfect family was decaying from the inside out, and the vise Christian had designed was beginning to squeeze him.

Financial difficulties began to grow exponentially. He obtained a line of credit in the name of Joe Longo, his adoptive father, and ran up $100,000 of debt. He defaulted on other loans and was passing bad checks. He hired temporary workers and couldn't pay them. He stole two construction trailers and a forklift, and then sold the forklift. The used equipment dealer who bought it sued Chris when he learned the forklift had been stolen.

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