L&I NEWS: Unregistered contractor sentenced to repay Puget Sound homeowners in construction scam

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WA LNI Communications Services - News

Unregistered contractor sentenced to repay Puget Sound homeowners in construction scam

June 15, 2020                                                                                             #20-016

TACOMA — A Spanaway man has been ordered to pay back homeowners he swindled out of thousands of dollars in Pierce, King, and Thurston counties for remodeling projects he never finished and sometimes never started.

Jasen Anthony Ayers, 41, pleaded guilty on Friday, June 12, to two counts of felony second-degree theft, two counts of unregistered contracting, and one count of doing business without registering with the Department of Revenue.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Alicia Burton sentenced Ayers to repay more than $11,000 total to 10 victims for the theft charges. She also sentenced Ayers to perform 16 days of community service.

In addition, the judge imposed suspended sentences for the remaining offenses, requiring that he break no laws and report if he changes his address for two years. If he violates the terms, he could face up to 364 days in jail.

In exchange for his plea, the state agreed not to file felony theft and unregistered contracting charges in King and Thurston counties.

All construction contractors must register with L&I

State law requires construction contractors to register with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and to obtain a business license from the Washington State Department of Revenue. L&I confirms contractors have the business license, liability insurance, and a bond, which can provide some recourse for customers if something goes wrong.

“We’re pleased that Mr. Ayers has agreed to repay his victims,” said Chris Bowe, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division. “No one should experience the frustration and financial loss these consumers did.”

The Washington Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on investigations by L&I’s contractor compliance program, the state Department of Revenue, and state Attorney General investigators.

Multiple business names

The case covered incidents in 2018 and 2019, when Ayers was doing business under multiple names: Ayers and Sons Remodeling, Alpha Construction, Superior Remodeling, Kingdom Construction, RIG Remodeling, Western Remodeling, Once In A Lifetime Remodeling, and Stoneway Remodeling of Tacoma.

None of the companies was registered as a construction contractor with L&I, and only two had business licenses. When asked, however, Ayers told several customers he was registered. Yet he also directed some customers to write checks out to his personal name instead of the business name.

Last-minute excuses

According to charging papers, Ayers met most of his victims through Porch.com, a website that connects contractors and customers.

Ayers would quickly respond to inquiries, bid on a project, require a 50-percent down payment, collect sales tax, and set up a time to start the job.

But at the last minute before he was supposed to return, he typically gave an excuse, such as: He forgot his child had eye surgery, his truck broke down, a crew member got sick, he had a family emergency, he fell behind on another job.

Victims paid him deposits of $125 to $4,000. They lived in Pierce County (Puyallup, Spanaway, Tacoma, University Place), in King County (Covington, Federal Way, Kent) and in Thurston County (Lacey, Yelm).

15 civil infractions from L&I

In addition to recommending criminal charges, L&I contractor compliance inspectors cited Ayers with 15 civil infractions from 2018 to 2020, most of them for unregistered contracting. He has not paid any of the fines.

L&I advises people looking for contactors to: 

  • Hire contractors registered with L&I.
  • Verify their registration at ProtectMyHome.net.
  • Get three written bids.
  • Never pay in full until the job is done.
  • Pay materials suppliers directly instead of through the contractor.
  • Beware of writing checks to an individual instead of the company name.
  • Get more tips at ProtectMyHome.net.




For media information: Debby Abe, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6043

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