Unlicensed Cabinet Contractor Arrested on Felony Charges
SONOMA COUNTY — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and Sonoma County District Attorney today announced the arrest of unlicensed contractor Andrew Milutin. Milutin was arrested in Michigan after fleeing California and is being held on $150,000 bail. The District Attorney expects to file more than 25 felony and misdemeanor charges, which include felony grand theft, conversion of construction funds, contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and unlawful use of another person's contractors license number. Milutin will face the charges after his extradition back to California.
Between August 2001 and May 2002, Milutin, dba Designs By Andrew, entered into contracts to fabricate and install cabinets. Contract prices ranged from $1,700 to $72,040. Milutin allegedly asked for and received deposits over the legal limit of 10 percent or $1,000 and then failed to construct and/or install the cabinets as called for in the contracts. He allegedly fooled his customers into thinking he was making progress on their jobs by falsely telling them the cabinetry they saw in his showroom or workshop was theirs. He would then ask them for more money to finish the project. It is believed that Milutin never completed a single project.
Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Dani Jo Handell said, "Shutting down illegal contractors is one of our county's top priorities. We want people to know that Sonoma County is not the place to perpetrate fraud. What makes this case particularly egregious is that several months ago Mr. Milutin was ordered to cease and desist his illegal activity, and develop a plan to repay his victims. Rather than come into compliance with the law, he continued to illegally take money for jobs he had no intention of performing, and then fled. This arrest should warn anyone thinking of making a quick buck at the expense of Sonoma County consumers that we will not tolerate consumer fraud."
The Contractors State License Board and the District Attorney's Office are aware of 11 victims with contracts totaling more than $225,000, resulting in losses to consumers and suppliers of approximately $80,000. Milutin advertised "Cabinets from Design to Installation" in the Press Democrat and the Classified Gazette. If you have been victimized by Andrew Milutin, please call the Board at (916) 255-2924 or the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office at (707) 565-3150.
"I urge all consumers to check the contractor's license before entering into a contract. And never let the payments get ahead of the work. Check out the contractor's license status and your consumer rights at our Web site, www.cslb.ca.gov," said CSLB Registrar Stephen Sands.
Contractors working on any job totaling $500 or more for labor and materials must be licensed by the CSLB. To become licensed, a contractor must pass a licensing examination, verify at least four years of journey-level experience, and carry a license bond. By law, a contractor cannot charge more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less.
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with a building contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license
- Verify the contractor's license at www.cslb.ca.gov or (800) 321-CSLB
- Do not pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment
- Do not pay cash, and do not let payments get ahead of the work
- Get three bids, check references, and get a detailed, written contract
- Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
The CSLB, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses 278,000 contractors in California and investigates 25,000 complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors every year.
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