On May 8th, 2013

Construction Fraud: Unlicensed Contractor Sentenced To 16 Months In Jail

An unlicensed contractor, Alec Damos, 52, was sentenced Friday, May 3, 2013  to 16 months in jail for defrauding more than $635,000 from a Huntington Beach homeowner and a Yorba Linda family by taking their payments and failing to complete construction projects.  In addition to his jail sentence, Damos must pay more than $635,000 in restitution.

This case was investigated by the Contractor State License Board, the Brea Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney's Office, according to an Orange County District Attorney press release.

Following the 2008 Triangle Complex Fire that destroyed more than 200 homes in Orange County, Damos posed as a licensed contractor in Yorba Linda using a contractor license number belonging to a legitimate operator without the person's knowledge or consent. Damos approached one family and helped clear rubble and debris.  He was later  contracted to rebuild the entire home for more than $729,000.

Damos collected more than $147,000 in advances from the victims, began some preliminary work and then abandoned the project.  He then moved out of state without paying various subcontractors scheduled for the project. Damos paid himself more than $61,000 and spent more than $72,000 to pay for his own family's living expenses, including monthly bills, personal shopping trips, restaurant tabs and travel.

Investigators then discovered, Damos had defrauded more than $488,000 from another homeowner in Huntington Beach.  In 2006, as an unlicensed contractor, he took construction deposits and abandoned the home improvement work, which resulted in substandard conditions, unpaid creditors and indirectly caused the homeowners to lose their home to foreclosure.

In February, Damos pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlicensed contracting for emergency residential repairs in a disaster area, one felony count of fraudulent use of a contractor's license and one misdemeanor count of contracting for home improvement without a state license. 

"This is why our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are investigators at the Contractor State License Board routinely go undercover and hold sting operations targeting unlicensed contractors." said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  "The hope is to save homeowners from this heartache.  They provide a valuable layer of protection for homeowners in this state." 

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