SANTA ANA, CA -- An unlicensed contractor was sentenced to 16 months in jail for defrauding over $635,000 from a Huntington Beach homeowner and a Yorba Linda family by stealing each of their payments and failing to complete construction projects. Alec Damos, 52, Pawley's Island, SC, pleaded guilty Feb. 20, 2013, to one felony count of unlicensed contracting for emergency residential repairs in a disaster area, one felony count of fraudulent use of a contractor's license, and one misdemeanor count of contracting for home improvement without a state license. In addition to his jail sentence, Damos was ordered to pay over $635,000 in restitution.
In 2008, the Triangle Complex Fire burned over 30,000 acres and destroyed more than 200 homes in Orange County, making it the fourth largest fire in Orange County history.
Between November 2008 and April 2009, Damos unlawfully posed as a licensed contractor in Yorba Linda fraudulently using contractor license numbers belonging to legitimate operators without their knowledge or consent. Damos approached one family and initially helped clear rubble and debris in the days following the fire and was then contracted to rebuild their entire home for over $729,000.
Damos collected more than $147,000 in advances from the victims, began some preliminary work, and then abandoned the project, leaving it incomplete. Damos moved out of state with the proceeds without paying various subcontractors scheduled for the project. Damos paid himself over $61,000 and spent more than $72,000 to pay for his own family's living expenses including monthly bills, personal shopping trips, restaurants, and travel.
In 2009, the victims notified the Brea Police Department, who worked with the Contractor State License Board and the Orange County District Attorney's Office and discovered that, in a separate case, Damos had defrauded another homeowner in Huntington Beach of over $488,000 in construction deposits in 2006. Damos was similarly unlicensed and abandoned the home improvement work which resulted in substandard conditions and unpaid creditor lines which indirectly caused the homeowners to later lose their home due to foreclosure.
In 2011, Brea Police detectives located Damos living in South Carolina and extradited him back to Orange County.
Deputy District Attorney James Young of the Code Enforcement Unit prosecuted this case.