FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tues., Feb. 4, 2020
Breanna Bang, Public Information Liaison
AZ ROC January 2020
Unlicensed Adjudication Highlights
PHOENIX, Ariz., (Feb. 4, 2020) – Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AZ ROC) closed four unlicensed investigations after they were successfully adjudicated in Yavapai County, Bullhead City, and Phoenix courts last month.
On Jan. 9, 2020, Mario Casillas 29 of Campe Verde, pleaded guilty to Theft, a Class 6 Felony, Attempted Theft of Credit Card or Obtaining a Credit Card by Fraudulent Means, a Class 6 Felony and Contracting Without a License, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, in the Yavapai County Superior Court. The charges stem from two separate AZ ROC investigations.
The court ordered Casillas to pay a combined total of $11,638 in restitution to the victims and serve one day in the Yavapai County Jail. He was also placed on three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $750 fine and additional probation fees.
The first case dates back to an unlicensed complaint received in July 2017. The investigation found Casillas, DBA M&M Landscaping and Masonry, contracted to install pavers at a Clarkdale residence.
The homeowner had previously hired Casillas to build a retaining wall at a Prescott Valley property and after Casillas followed through, he hired him for the second job. As is often the pattern with unlicensed entities though, the homeowner paid him a $1,619 downpayment for the second project, and Casillas never returned to even start the work.
In this case, the court ordered him to pay $3,099 in restitution to the property owner.
In the second case related to the charges, Casillas was paid $9,200 to install a 5-ft fence, pavers, build a concrete pad for a storage shed and install electrical and water outlets for an RV. Casillas started the work, but little was done before he abandoned the job. The property owner reported to the AZ ROC investigator that Casillas damaged a City of Cottonwood water connection and the electrical boxes installed outdoors were designed for indoor use.
The property owner gave Casillas a credit card for materials, however, Casillas took an extra $1,000 from the account without authorization.
In this case, the court ordered him to pay $8,539 in restitution to the property owner.
On Jan. 7, 2020, Robert Laster, 51 of Bullhead City, pleaded no contest to Attempted Contracting Without a License, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, in the Bullhead City Municipal Court.
The charge stems from an AZ ROC investigation that found Laster, DBA Bullhead Solar, Inc., contracted to repair an electric generating wind turbine machine at a Bullhead City home. Laster was paid $8,850 for the job, but nearly eight months later the repair still was not complete.
Laster was sentenced to pay $1,339 in restitution to the homeowner and $541 in fines and fees. He was also sentenced to 24 months of unsupervised probation and 20 days of jail time that will be suspended if all terms of the probation are met.
Laster has never been a licensed contractor in Arizona.
The Agency investigated previous unlicensed complaints against Laster and in 2014, he was issued a $1,000 civil penalty after contracting to remove and install a solar photo-voltaic system from a residence.
On Jan. 6, 2020, Kristopher Firth, 43 of Phoenix, was found guilty of Contracting Without a License, a Class 1 Misdemeanor in the Desert Ridge Justice Court, Phoenix.
The charge stems from an AZ ROC investigation that found Firth, DBA Firth Construction LLC, contracted to install windows and complete a stucco repair at a Phoenix home. The homeowner hired Firth on the recommendation of a neighbor. He started the job, but after receiving the final payment did not return to complete it.
The court ordered Firth to pay a $1,000 fine. A restitution hearing is set for Feb. 26, 2020 at 1:30 PM in the Desert Ridge Justice Court.
AZ ROC frequently receives complaints regarding unlicensed entities exploiting property owners ranging from poor work to complete abandonment. If hiring someone else to do the work and the entire project, including labor and materials, is over $1,000 or requires a permit by the local municipality, a license is required by Arizona Revised Statute 32-1121.
AZ ROC reminds property owners to ask contractors of their license status and to check the license using the contractor search at www.roc.az.gov or giving the Agency a call at 1-877-692-9762.
Photo courtesy of Yavapai County Sheriff's Office