Saturday, November 17, 2012

S. California Trio Bagged, Face 22 Felony Charges In Home Improvement Ripoff; Allegedly 'Rented' Legit Licenses From Contractors To Dupe Victims Into Scam That Performed Incomplete, Substandard Work

From the Office of the Ventura County, California District Attorney:

  • District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced [] the completion of an 18-month investigation and filing of a felony complaint against Los Angeles residents Avi Hviv Gozlan (DOB 10/3/64), Ely Kavon (DOB 8/1/82) and Debra Lyn Mabrie (DOB 3/22/57). All three individuals are charged with 22 felonies, including grand theft, money laundering, elder abuse, conspiracy to contract without a license, and the aggravated white collar crime enhancement.

    The charges arise out of a fraudulent remodeling and home improvement scheme operating across Southern California under the names Amco, Inc., Liberty Construction, Universal Remodeling, VIP Home Design, Inc. and Vista Home Improvement, Inc.

    The defendants misled consumers into believing these companies were properly licensed with the Contractors State License Board by renting legitimate licenses from other contractors for a monthly fee. Gozlan's prior contractor's license was revoked by the Contractors State License Board in 2000. In reality, licensed contractors were not overseeing or participating in these contracting businesses.

    Through VIP Home Design, Inc. and the other companies identified above, Gozlan, Kavon and Mabrie are accused of selling home improvement services to consumers. They utilized a sophisticated network of telemarketers who were each required to make hundreds of telephone calls each day seeking out customers. Investigators have interviewed five victims to date who reside in Ventura County, three of whom are elders. Their losses exceed $145,000.

    Salespeople and telemarketers from these businesses proposed home improvement work that they never intended to complete, or offered services they ultimately failed to provide. Much of the work performed was substandard or resulted in overbilling for tasks that were never done.

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