Theft of services, theft of utility services, and unlicensed contractor fraud are all crimes. If you face one of these charges, or multiple charges, don’t panic. There are things that you can do to get help and defend yourself. A good place to start is understanding the specifics of your charge. Here, I will explain these crimes. Then, you can begin to defend yourself against this charge.
Theft of Services
A person is guilty of theft of services when:
- They avoid paying an establishment money owed through misrepresentation, stealth, unjustifiable failure, or refusal to pay. Also, the establishment could be a:
- Tourist cabin.
- Rooming house.
- They try to obtain public transportation services without paying or avoids paying by force, stealth, intimidation, deception, mechanical tampering, refusal to pay, or unjustifiable failure.
- They obtain a motor vehicle without paying or avoiding to pay through:
- Fraudulent representation.
- Fraudulent concealment.
- False pretense.
- Artiface or device.
- They obtain control over the employment of a person, business, equipment (commercial or industrial), or faculties of another person when they know that they are not entitled to the use of those things. In addition, this person must also intend to get a commercial or other substantial benefit from the use of this labor, equipment, or facilities for themselves or another person.
Some common examples of theft of services are “dining and dashing” in a restaurant and skipping out on cab fare.
Unlicensed Contractor Fraud
In each state, if a contractor is making repairs that exceed a certain amount of money (in most states, $500), the contractor must have a valid contractor’s license. Unlicensed contractors can make serious mistakes when working on projects worth more than $500. This is why a written contract must get signed by the contractor and the homeowner. The written contract should state the contractor’s license number. Also, it should contain a number that the homeowner can call with complaints.
Lying about having a contractor’s license constitutes fraud, and if issues occur in remodeling or repairs exceeding $500, an unlicensed contractor does not have to get paid by the homeowner. In addition, the homeowner can file a lawsuit against the contractor. A homeowner can sue for damages and for being lied to if unlicensed contractor fraud was involved in the case.
If you face an unlicensed contractor fraud or theft of services charge, it is a good idea to contact a criminal defense lawyer. Such a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action for your situation. You can learn more by contacting our office.