SAN FRANCISCO - Following an extensive investigation by California Statewide Law Enforcement (CSLEA) Member Bob Twomey, Foster City resident Patrick Otsuki, 57, was arrested for defrauding a San Francisco family out of $110,000 by falsely holding himself out as a licensed contractor.
“There are a lot of con artists out there,” Twomey told SFGate. “They promise great things, start doing the work, money changes hands and then ... it’s an awkward situation.” (Foster City man charged with contracting scam)
Twomey, an enforcement representative for the California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) opened an investigation referred to him by the San Francisco District Attorney's office which received a complaint from the victim's family members. (SFDA Press Release)
According to court documents, Otsuki falsely told the family that he was a licensed contractor and he submitted invoices to the family which included a false contractor license number. Court documents allege that Otsuki did not complete the work he was hired for and did not obtain permits for which he charged the family thousands of dollars, forcing the family to hire a licensed contractor to complete the project.
"For homeowners, it's hard to know who to hire," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "You have to do your research and trust your gut, but even then you can still get taken. Fortunately, CSLB enforcement teams are tackling this widespread problem that plagues consumers and the State of California."
Otsuki has been charged with felony grand theft by false pretenses, felony diversion of funds, and felony fraudulent use of a license. He has also been charged with misdemeanor counts of contracting without a license and advertising by an unlicensed person.
"San Franciscans need to be able to trust that people they welcome into their home are who they say they are, and that they are licensed and qualified to complete the work for which they are hired," said District Attorney George Gascón.
Otsuki was arraigned on June 28, 2016 and entered a plea of not guilty. He is currently out of custody on $50,000 bail. According to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, the arrest of Otsuki is the result of an extensive investigation by CSLB Enforcement's Bob Twomey. San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Theis Finlev is prosecuting the case.