Repeat Contracting Violator in Bakersfield Ordered to Jail
Jose Villegas Chavez also required to pay up to $90,000 in restitution to victims after felony plea
SACRAMENTO – An unlicensed contractor who victimized non-English speaking residents in the Bakersfield area, and has been repeatedly cited by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) for illegal contracting, was sentenced earlier this month by a Kern County Superior Court judge to eight months in jail and ordered to pay restitution of up to $90,000.
Jose Villegas Chavez, 33, earlier pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge and workers’ compensation (WC) insurance violation as the result of a plea arrangement with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office.
The plea consolidated nine previous misdemeanor unlicensed contracting cases against him, as well as other charges, according to court records. Chavez also was sentenced to a five-year supervised probation term, and ordered not to contract without a license and carry WC insurance if, as a licensed contractor, brings employees to a construction job.
Several of the persons who had been scammed by Chavez attended his May 13, 2016, sentencing. CSLB investigators said Chavez mostly circulated within the local Latino community advertising his general contracting services. Once he landed a job, he demanded and got large down payments to start work – only to abandon a project after the first day, reports said. When victims complained about his tactics, Chavez used the threat of deportation to silence them.
Chavez caught CSLB’s attention in 2010, after several consumers in the Bakersfield area lodged complaints against him. Found working at an area home, with employees he had brought with him, Chavez received his first citation from CSLB for unlicensed contracting, and failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The pattern of complaints and unlicensed contracting citations continued against Chavez until his apprehension earlier this year.
“We appreciate the work of the criminal justice officials in Kern County who made sure this unlicensed contractor was punished for his crimes and did not get away with his threats and intimidation,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “It’s also important to note the hard work that CSLB investigators have put in to apprehend this person who was endangering and victimizing consumers in Kern County.”
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