Plumber convicted of overloading Santa Monica Senior

The 82-year-old senior from Santa Monica overwhelmed tens of thousands of dollars

By Sam Catanzaro

A plumbing contractor was convicted of illegally overloading an 82-year-old Santa Monica homeowner, tens of thousands of dollars.

On January 27, a Los Angeles District Supreme Court judge sentenced Jet Speed ​​Plumbing Inc., dba Ritz Plumbing, to three years probation and a $ 45,000 disciplinary bond. The owner must take and pass multiple Contractors State License Board exams and submit all documents and contracts for review at the request of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), according to the City of Santa Monica.

These trial periods are in accordance with the terms of a civil ordinance issued against Ritz Plumbing in a disciplinary hearing before the contractor’s State License Board, the city said.

This investigation began after one of the homeowner’s adult children discovered that their mother’s bank accounts and retirement savings had run out. The affected relative turned to the State License Board (CSLB) of the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors, which turned to the Santa Monica City Law Firm.

An investigation by the CSLB found that senior home owner Ritz initially hired Plumbing to perform plumbing work worth $ 5,000 for normal repairs and installations. During this work, Ritz Plumbing had entered into four additional contracts with the senior homeowner, resulting in payments from the homeowner to Ritz Plumbing totaling $ 92,000.

Additionally, a Ritz Plumbing employee received an additional $ 81,000 from the senior homeowner for landscaping work that the employee was not licensed to do.

In one case, a clerk drove the elderly homeowner to her bank so officials said she could withdraw money to pay for the landscaping.

As a result of the investigation, Ritz Plumbing reimbursed the homeowner for the full amount paid of $ 92,000, and neither Ritz Plumbing nor his employee Ignacio Duron raised any objection to the crime.

“This case should serve as a cautionary story and a reminder that when dealing with contractors, it is important that we know our rights and the law,” said Deputy Prosecutor Eda Suh from the Consumer Protection Department.

According to prosecutors, when hiring a contractor, consumers should get at least three quotes and three references before hiring a contractor and check with the CSLB to see if the contractor is licensed.

In addition, it is recommended that consumers sign a written contract with the contractor only after checking it for accuracy and understanding of its terms, do not pay more than the legally required deposit and do not pay with cash.

For more information on consumer rights when hiring a contractor or how to file a complaint, please visit the CLSB website at or call CSLB at (800) 321-2752.

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