Local authorities arrested a Bakersfield man Friday on charges he posed as a licensed contractor and cheated victims after accepting down payments without completing the work — or accepting money and never showing up at all.
Lamberto Montano, 29, routinely posted advertisements under the business name New Renovations for granite and cabinet work in Facebook groups such as Connected; Facebook Marketplace; and on Craigslist, the Kern County District Attorney's Office said in a news release. The posts were in English and Spanish.
According to victims and witnesses, the D.A.'s office said, Montano has represented himself as a licensed contractor, a granite and cabinet store owner, or just a handyman.
Montano, who also went by Albert Montano Lopez and Albert M. Lopez, is facing charges of first-degree burglary; theft by false pretenses; second-degree burglary; grand theft; contracting without a license; charging an excessive down payment; petty theft; and not providing workers compensation insurance.
If you believe you have been defrauded by Montano, call 868-5859.
The D.A.'s office provided these tips to follow when hiring a handyman or contractor:
In California, all home-improvement jobs totaling $500 or more in combined labor and materials must be performed by a licensed contractor.
Verify a contractors license through the State Licensing Board's website.
Hire a contractor who has workers’ compensation insurance. Otherwise you may be liable if a worker is injured on the job.
A down payment can’t exceed $1,000, or 10 percent of the contract amount, whichever is less.