Man posing as a contractor sentenced to year in jail, pay $82K

A man who posed as a licensed contractor and bilked San Francisco homeowners and day laborers out of thousands of dollars was sentenced to a year in county jail Friday and ordered to pay nearly $82,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.

Danny Ho, 53, pleaded guilty on Nov. 23 to felony charges of grand theft, misappropriation of construction funds, and fraudulently posing as a licensed contractor, district attorney's office spokesman Omid Talai said.

Ho was arrested in April for fraud in February 2010 involving the owner of a house at 171 Lee Ave. in the city's Ingleside neighborhood.

He entered into a contract with the homeowner and provided a business card with the license number and business name of another contractor who happened to have the same name, prosecutor said.

After being paid about $32,000 by the homeowner, who wanted to convert an entertainment room into two bedrooms, Ho abandoned the project and also failed to pay wages to the three day laborers he had hired for the job, prosecutors said.

The case was brought to the attention of the district attorney's office by the nonprofit legal organization La Raza Centro Legal, which received complaints from the day laborers.

During the district attorney's investigation into the case, a second case was revealed involving a home at 3645 Ortega St. in the city's Outer Sunset neighborhood.

In that case, Ho entered into a contract in November 2007 with the son and daughter-in-law of homeowners to remodel a kitchen and bathroom. But after the son paid him more than $30,000, Ho ultimately abandoned the job and failed to pay two workers on the project, prosecutors said.

He has been in custody since his April arrest and was sentenced Friday morning to a year in county jail.

Ho was also ordered to pay $81,778.50 to the homeowners and workers and placed on five years probation after he is released from jail.

“Defrauding homeowners and workers of their hard earned money is a crime and will be identified and prosecuted by my office,” District Attorney George Gascon said.

The Contractors State License Board encourages homeowners to check their website, www.cslb.ca.gov, or call their toll-free number at (800) 321-CSLB to make sure a contractor has the proper license and documentation.

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