7 On Your Side has issued numerous warnings about hiring unlicensed contractors over the years. Prosecutors say this is what can happen if you ignore that advice.
Gloria Brooks has been living in her Oakland home for more than 25 years. She says she paid a contractor $3,600 to make repairs she had to have someone else re-do.
"This part of the house that was damaged, I had to have it repaired. There were a lot of cracks and he left, Mr. Wilson left it undone," said Brooks.
The man she's referring to is Khalid Wilson.
Brooks hired him to remodel her home, but she said he never satisfactorily finished it. Wilson was convicted of three felony counts in 2008. This, after separate investigations by 7 On Your Side and state regulators revealed Wilson was working illegally without a license and cheating customers out of thousands of dollars.
"He's somebody that will take an excessive, illegally large down payment up front, do very little work and not come and finish the job," said Venus Stromberg of the Contractors State License Board.
A judge sentenced Wilson in 2008 to eight months in county jail and ordered him to pay $23,000 in restitution, but authorities continued to receive complaints about him after his release the following year.
"He's still using the license number that was revoked, which has resulted in the newest criminal filing for which there is another warrant," said Stromberg.
Brooks said she didn't realize she had hired an unlicensed contractor until it was too late.
"I was very upset. I wished I had researched it before and should have, but I didn't. He presented himself so well," said Brooks.
That's the same thing others told 7 On Your Side back in 2008 before his conviction.
"All I needed to do was call the state Contractors License Board, find out his license was not in good standing and that would have tipped it off and I wouldn't be in the mess I'm in today," said Bruce Goldsmith of Oakland.
"Unfortunately a lot of Californians don't know that a contractor may not ask for more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less. So if anybody ever asks you for more than $1,000 up front, that's a red flag," said Stromberg.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Wilson in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
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