Transient Construction Crew Arrested In Alleged Paving Scam
More Victims Sought by State Contractors Board and Mendocino County District Attorney
UKIAH — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the Mendocino County District Attorney (MCDA) are searching for additional victims of out-of-state phony contractors who are believed to have been operating in Mendocino, Lake and Shasta Counties. CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) with cooperation from local sheriffs deputies and tribal police identified several residential and commercial victims, including the Round Valley Indian Tribe, who had been solicited and had work performed by the suspects.
Late last week SWIFT investigators followed the crew to a local asphalt supplier and then to the town of Covelo where the suspects were observed soliciting door-to-door and performing work.
The suspects used the ruse of having leftover asphalt from a nearby job and were vague about the price they would charge. They failed to perform the required prep work, dumped and spread the asphalt thin, and did minimal compaction. The prices ultimately charged were $5,000 to $14,000. The suspects were licensed, but did not have worker's compensation, did not provide a contract as required by law, did not have a fixed price and misrepresented the service they offered.
The individuals arrested are: William Robert Williams and Richard John Williams of Winamac, Indiana and Gregory Francis Nolan Jr. of Denver, Colorado and Roswell New Mexico. They were operating under the business names of William R. Williams Asphalt Paving, using California contractor's license #674064, and Western Asphalt Company, license #240677. In addition, trucks and construction equipment were seized as evidence.
The suspects were booked into Mendocino County jail for felony violations of conspiracy to commit a crime, grand theft, and attempted grand theft. Anyone who has had contact with these individuals should contact the Mendocino Deputy District Attorney at: (707) 463-4211 or CSLB Investigators at (707) 576-2196.
CSLB issued a statewide Consumer Alert last week to warn consumers about traveling criminals who come into California when the weather warms up, offering paving, painting and landscaping services door-to-door. "The offers from these unlicensed contractors may sound good at first," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands "But, they can end up costing more than work performed by legitimate contractors and also result in property damage."
By law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more (labor and materials) must be licensed by the CSLB.
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with a contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license.
- Don't rush into decisions and don't hire the first contractor who comes along.
- Be especially hesitant when approached by someone offering home improvement services door-to-door, especially when they will use material they claim is left over from another job
- Verify the contractor's license by checking online or via CSLB's automated phone service at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
- Don't pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less
- Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
- Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract
- Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor
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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