Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that seven contractors are facing felony charges and 10 more were arraigned on misdemeanor charges in Providence District Court for failing to comply with a final order from the Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board (CLRB). Two additional contractors reached agreements with CLRB as a result of this effort.
"The charges here are serious; we're not talking about cases where folks are dissatisfied with their paint color. These are hardworking Rhode Islanders who paid a lot of money for contractors to make improvements to their homes and were left high and dry," said Attorney General Neronha. "The defendants were given multiple opportunities to resolve their situations. Some took advantage of that opportunity. Others didn't. Those who didn't will now be held accountable, and this Office will pursue restitution to the homeowners and any fines owed."
All contractors in the state are required to register with the CLRB, a part of the Department of Business Regulation (DBR). When a complaint is filed against a contractor, the board determines whether the contractor is properly licensed with CLRB and whether the contractor performed work according to industry standards. Final orders are entered only after every effort is made to reach a resolution between the contractor and the complainant. Failure to comply can be prosecuted as a felony in Rhode Island if the amount of the money judgement combined with the CLRB fines is over $5000, per the final order. Cases involving less than $5000 constitute misdemeanors.
"The CRLB works hard to ensure that homeowners who have suffered damages as a result of negligent work performed by contractors receive some form of justice. I am confident that these recent prosecutionsa direct result of interagency cooperation between our department and the Attorney General's Officewill serve as a powerful deterrent to any contractors who believe they will not be held accountable for wronging Rhode Island homeowners," said Liz Tanner, director, DBR.
The defendants charged yesterday with a felony violation are:
Paul Arruda, Paul Arruda Corporation Defendant did not pay a sub-contractor, despite being paid himself in full by the homeowner. The homeowner has a lien on his home as a result. Kevin Chaisty, KSC Construction Homeowner contracted with KSC to remove and replace siding. Homeowner paid $8000 to the defendant, who failed to start the work on time. He still has not returned the deposit, despite his assurances that he would.
Felony warrants have been issued for:
Anthony Arena, Northwest Construction and Maintenance After entering into a contractual agreement to perform work on the homeowner's basement, the defendant cashed the checks provided by the homeowner and did not perform any of the work. The amount totaled over $10,000.00.
Robert Darling, Saintz Construction Co. Homeowner paid nearly $30,000 and the defendant did not complete the project or return any funds. The work performed was not up to industry standards.
Rodolfo Hernandez, Statewide Construction Company Defendant failed to complete any of the contracted work. The homeowner suffered $40,000 in damages and became homeless as a result.
Jose Jimenez, J&J Landscaping Homeowner and J&J entered into a contract to replace existing driveway. The work performed would not meet industry standards and the company willfully failed to complete the project.
Richard Wilson, Custom Quality Home Services Homeowner contracted with defendant's company to construct an exterior fence. After the homeowner paid $15,000, the defendant failed to perform any work.
Eight contractors were arraigned on February 19, 2020 on misdemeanor charges:
Nicholas Chamberlain, CAS Drywall Ana Paulino Contreras, Paulino Construction John Cronin Cronin Construction Joshua Cruz, Eden Improvements Joshua Gomes Building Concepts Derek Penta Capital Home Improvements Jose Reis J Reis Painting Luis Rodrigues Lincoln Construction
Two contractors were arrested yesterday on bench warrants for failing to appear in court on February 19 for misdemeanor violations:
Zachary Brown, ZD Brown Construction Joseph Grilo, A Touch of Class
Richard Bourque, Jr., Richard Bourque Enterprises, is scheduled to appear for arraignment on February 26, 2020. There is a remaining warrant out for James Porter, J. Porter Concrete & Stone.
"I'm thankful for the work of our investigative team and to DBR for their partnership in this enforcement effort," said Attorney General Neronha. "Like any business in our state, contractors need to play by the rules. When they don't, we will take action on behalf of Rhode Island consumers."
Assistant Attorney General Meghan McDonough and Investigator John Rabbitt investigated and prosecuted these cases on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General. The cases were referred to the Office of the Attorney General by the Department of Business Regulation.