PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nineteen area contractors have been charged with failing to complete jobs that had already been paid for or performing substandard work at the expense of the customer, Attorney General Peter Neronha announced Tuesday.
Neronha said two of those contractors have reached agreements with the Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board (CLRB) as a result of the investigation.
Seven of the contractors are facing felony charges and 10 have already been arraigned on misdemeanor charges in Providence District Court, according to Neronha. Cases involving contracting jobs concerning a price and/or damages over $5,000 can be prosecuted as felonies and those under that amount are considered misdemeanors.
“We’re not talking about cases where folks are dissatisfied with their paint color,” Neronha said. “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.”
The CLRB, which is part of the Department of Business Regulation (DBR), receives complaints about contractors and determines if they’re licensed and whether the job was up to industry standards. Every effort is made to reach a resolution between contractor and customer before criminal charges are filed, Neronha said.
Neronha said two contractors were charged Monday with felony violations:
Paul Arruda, Paul Arruda Corporation
- Arruda did not pay a sub-contractor, despite being paid himself in-full by the homeowner, according to Neronha, and the homeowner now has a lien on his house as a result.
Kevin Chaisty, KSC Construction
- A homeowner contracted with KSC to remove and replace siding, paying Chaisty $8,000, Neronha said. The contractor allegedly failed to start the work on time and still has not returned the deposit, despite his assurances that he would.
Felony warrants have been issued for the following five contractors:
Anthony Arena, Northwest Construction and Maintenance
- After entering into a contractual agreement to perform work on the homeowner’s basement, Neronha said Arena cashed the checks provided by the homeowner and did not perform any of the work. The amount totaled more than $10,000.
Robert Darling, Saintz Construction Co.
- A homeowner paid Darling nearly $30,000 for a job and he did not complete the project or return any funds, Neronha said. The work Darling did perform was also not up to industry standards.
Rodolfo Hernandez, Statewide Construction Company
- Hernandez failed to complete any of the contracted work, according to Neronha. As a result, the homeowner suffered $40,000 in damages and became homeless.
Jose Jimenez, J&J Landscaping
- The homeowner entered into a contract with Jimenez to replace an existing driveway, but Neronha said the work performed did not meet industry standards and the company willfully failed to complete the project.
Richard Wilson, Custom Quality Home Services
- A homeowner contracted with Wilson’s company to construct an exterior fence. After the homeowner paid $15,000, Neronha said the company failed to perform any work.
Eight contractors, who were arraigned on Feb. 19, are facing 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
Neronha said an additional two contractors were arrested Monday on bench warrants for failing to appear in court on Feb. 19 for misdemeanor violations:
- Zachary Brown, ZD Brown Construction
- Joseph Grilo, A Touch of Class
In addition, Richard Bourque, Jr. of Richard Bourque Enterprises is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, and an arrest warrant has been issued for James Porter of J. Porter Concrete and Stone.
“I’m thankful for the work of our investigative team and to DBR for their partnership in this enforcement effort,” Neronha said. “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.”
Anyone who has had previous issues with a contractor and would like to file a complaint can contact the Consumer Protection Unit at (401) 274-4400 ext. 1.