Contractor To Be Sentenced for Elder Abuse
Davis Area Woman Pays Thousands For Work That Was Never Done
SACRAMENTO — As the result of an investigation by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) a Yolo County Contractor faces numerous penalties for bilking an elderly Alzheimer's victim out of more than $36,000. Patrick Charles Dougherty, who was doing business as Dougherty Roofing, has pleaded guilty in Yolo County Superior court to a single count of PC368(d) financial/ elder abuse.
The case caught the attention of CSLB investigators who had cited the West Sacramento roofing contractor last year on an earlier case that was later resolved. This time, Mr. Dougherty faces the immediate loss of his contractor's license in addition to facing penalties of up to one year in county jail, and paying back $35,000 when he is sentenced next month.
A series of checks from the elderly El Macero woman totaling $36,800 were paid to Mr. Dougherty over a one-year period. An industry expert estimates that only $500 of work was actually done.
The CSLB warns elderly homeowners to check with a friend or relative before signing a contract and to be wary of solicitors who try to pressure them into agreeing to home improvement work. "Family members and neighbors should be wary of unusual activity around seniors," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands, "Unknown trucks or strangers at the homes of elderly residents could mean trouble."
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when hiring any contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors
- Verify the contractor's license with the CSLB at www.cslb.ca.gov
- Don't be rushed or pressured into making a decision to hire a contractor
- Get a written contract
- Do not pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less
- Do not let payments get ahead of the work
- Get three bids and check references
- Do not pay cash
Consumers can verify a contractor's license status 24 hours a day using the CSLB's website at www.cslb.ca.gov or toll-free automated telephone system at (800) 321-CSLB (2752). They can also download or order helpful publications, such as "What You Should Know Before You Hire A Contractor," free of charge. You can also report contractors or unlicensed activity to the Board by phone or on the Web.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 278,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually.
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