Fire Protection Contractor Faces 30 Years in Prison After Conviction on Dozens of Felony Counts
Owner of American Fire Protection endangered dozens of Tulare County Businesses
SACRAMENTO —The Chief Executive Officer of American Fire Protection (Suspended License #726110), is facing a long prison sentence after being convicted by a Tulare County jury this week. Danny Victor Williams, 47, of Camarillo was found guilty February 23, 2011 on 29 felony and 26 misdemeanors counts. A major investigation by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), in partnership with various Tulare County fire and law enforcement agencies, led to the arrest of Williams and his partner, Ken Gordon Speck, 48, of Exeter, in 2009 for providing substandard, faulty fire protection systems at more than two dozen Tulare County businesses.
Jurors found Williams guilty of 26 felony counts of maintaining impaired fire protection systems, one felony count each of grand theft, diversion of construction funds and conspiracy, and 26 misdemeanor counts of violating State Fire Marshal regulations for automatic fire extinguishers. In addition, the jury found a special allegation true that while committing the crimes, Williams took, damaged, or destroyed property valuing more than $65,000. Williams faces up to 30 years in state prison at his sentencing hearing, set for April 27, 2011, in Department 12 of Tulare County Superior Court in Visalia.
The investigation determined that Williams trained Speck to service fire protection systems in the unlawful, unsafe manner. Speck pleaded guilty to five felonies and two misdemeanors in June 2010 and is scheduled for sentencing on March 21, 2011.
Williams’ CSLB license has been suspended since 2009 as a result of CSLB’s investigation.
"This conviction shows that state and local agencies can work together to aggressively go after those who put consumers at risk," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "There’s no doubt that stopping Mr. Williams has saved lives and property."
American Fire Protection, based in Camarillo, may have provided similar, fraudulent fire equipment services in other central valley areas, the San Francisco Bay Area, and in California’s central coast region. Company representatives dressed in uniforms similar to those worn by firefighters and claimed to be fire marshals or that they were at the given business to service hood and duct systems before they were slated for inspection or repair. They used high-pressure, intimidation tactics to sell the services and in some instances targeted businesses owned by immigrants.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB e-mail alerts, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. CSLB licenses and regulates California's more than 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2009-10, CSLB helped recover nearly $42 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
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