Local Contractor Arrested (Again) in Court While Answering Earlier Charge
SACRAMENTO — A Sacramento Valley contractor who was in court to face a charge of taking money without providing promised services was arrested today on six additional felony charges. The new charges are the result of the investigationby the Contractors State License Board (CSLB).
CSLB Investigators, assisted by Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Ronald Duwayne Petersen, doing business as "Petersen's Weathershield Roofing", at Sacramento County Superior Court as he appeared to face one previous felony charge. CSLB started investigating Mr. Petersen last fall after receiving more than two dozen complaints. The latest charges include one count of obtaining money by false pretenses and five counts of diverting construction funds. Mr. Petersen had been free on an earlier bail bond of $10,000 after his December 2, 2004 arrest. He was released on his own recognizance after being booked on these latest charges.
A number of homeowners who were supposed to receive services from Mr. Peterson say they ended up with liens against their homes instead, because suppliers were never paid. The total losses are estimated at nearly $55,000. To resolve the liens, some of those homeowners were forced to pay the suppliers directly after already paying Mr. Petersen.
"This is the type of unscrupulous operator that consumers need to be alert and wary about," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands "When we find out what they are doing, we take quick action to stop them. But the best protection for consumers is to be cautious about the individuals they hire to work on their homes. They need to check out contractors with the Board before agreeing to anything."
CSLB's investigation found that Mr. Petersen took excessive down payments, sometimes as large as $22,000 and performed no work. By law, a down payment cannot be more than 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less. Written contracts must include a payment schedule that sets forth payments as work is completed.
"By checking out contractors before hiring them, consumers can find out if the they are licensed, verify business names and addresses, and determine if there are any legal actions against licenses." said Sands, "We also have tips on how to hire a contractor and manage the construction process."
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when hiring any contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors
- 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
- Verify the contractor's license with the CSLB at www.cslb.ca.gov
- Verify the license owner, business name and address
- Get three bids and check references
- Do not pay cash.
The Contractors State License Board, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses approximately 278,000 contractors in California and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors annually. To check out a contractor's license, visit our Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov or call (800) 321-CSLB (2752).
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