State Prison and Other Penalties Await Modesto Area Contractor
Contractors State License Board Revokes License for Numerous Violations
Sacramento — The penalties are building up for a Riverbank contractor who diverted construction funds and stole from a senior citizen. An investigation by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) resulted in the prosecution of Joseph Elliott/Elliot Building Concepts (License #839654) by the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office.
On Monday, June 3, Joseph Elliott was sentenced to a total of five years in prison. He received three years for one count of theft from an elder, 16 months consecutive for two counts of diversion of construction funds, and 8 months consecutive for another one count of diversion of construction funds.
The CSLB revoked Elliott's contractor license in April 2006 for home improvement contract violations including: conviction of related crime, abandonment and a willful or fraudulent act. He still could face additional financial penalties. The court will determine later this month (June 11) if Mr. Elliot will be required to pay over $302,000 in restitution to victims. He may face even more penalties if fines and court fees are added.
"We make it a top priority to go after individuals who take advantage of senior citizens, regardless if they're licensed or not," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "This case spotlights how damaging this type of crime can be to consumers."
By law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more (labor and materials) must be licensed by the CSLB. Because many unlicensed operators don't comply with the workers compensation laws and don't pay payroll and other taxes, they often submit lower bids on jobs. Many have other problems with the law. Plus, if a deal goes bad with an unlicensed contractor, the homeowner has very few options.
The CSLB strongly encourages consumers to look up the contractor's license at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752) to see if there are complaints or irregularities. Consumers can also use those sources to get information on how to file complaints with the CSLB.
The CSLB also urges consumers to follow these tips when hiring any contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors
- Verify the license owner, business name and address and ask for a picture I.D.
- Verify the contractor's license at www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-CSLB(2752)
- Get three bids and check references
- 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
- Do not pay cash
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 310,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2005-06, the CSLB helped consumers get more than $36 million in restitution.
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