CA AG Brown Foils Massive Home Repair Scam

By
Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate

This is the kind of article you see written about the organized 'Gypsys' that still roam the countryside from time to time. Again, our intrepid AG has ferretted out another wrong-doer. No doubt he has shut down a large operation here but there are others. Always warn clients - especially elderly clients who are frequently victimized by these scamsters.

Typical scams include the roof and/or driveway repair that involves a light spray of used motor oil to darken the pavement or roof tiles. That it all washes off in the next rain doesn't matter - the repair guys are long gone. These guys took it to a whole other level spending millions themselves on advertising. Must have payed off. For a while. 

ag

News Release
March 23, 2009
For Immediate Release

Brown and Contractors State License Board Stop Massive Statewide Home Repair Scheme

SAN DIEGO - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) have finalized an agreement that will stop a massive service and repair scheme that unfairly overcharged thousands of Californians for "shoddy and woefully inadequate" home repair work.

"This massive scheme defrauded thousands of California homeowners who were charged exorbitant fees for shoddy and woefully inadequate home repair work by unlicensed and unskilled contractors," Attorney General Brown said. "The agreement stops the illegal practices and gives homeowners a chance to recover some of their losses."

A months-long investigation by the Attorney General's Office and the Contractors State License Board found that SRVS Charge Inc. and its affiliated companies had been cheating some 6,000 customers each year for overpriced and substandard home repair work since 1989.

To stop the companies' illegal practices and provide restitution to those who were victimized, Brown and the CSLB reached a settlement with:

- SRVS Charge Inc. and its affiliates,
- Principal owner, Sarkis Terabelian, 43, of Burbank;
- General manager, Zohrab "Rob" Mkhitarian, 40, of Burbank; and
- Associates Marine Metspakyan, 33, Avetik Avo Gyandzhyan, 38, Lilit Lusparyan, 28, Alisa Oganyan, 35, Estine Akopyan, 28, and Vardui Terabelian, 45.

The defendants operated various service and repair companies that employed electricians, plumbers, and heating and air-conditioning technicians in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sacramento region. These companies routinely targeted elderly Californians.

Exorbitant customer fees enabled Sarkis Terabelian, Mkhitarian, and his associates to purchase two helicopters, a Mercedes-Benz, and real property valued in excess of $1 million. Title to these vehicles and real property were seized by the Attorney General's Office last year and will be released as a result of the settlement.

**********

"This settlement is a victory for California consumers and legitimate contractors, and brings resolution to thousands of hours of investigative work," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Victims will now be able to regain some of their money, and CSLB will be able to watch this company closely so others aren't harmed."

If the terms of the settlement are violated, the defendants could face jail time.

The following companies are affiliated with the defendants and are included in the settlement:

- American Electric (CSLB #834398)
- American Home Repairs, Inc. (CSLB #834206)
- 59 Minute Service (CSLB #837697)
- Cal Repair Services, Inc., dba Pick Red Plumbing (CSLB #797241)
- Answering Resources, Inc., dba Thrifty Electric (CSLB #723375)
- Orbell Enterprises, Inc., dba Plumbing One (CSLB #713006)
- USA Services, Inc. (CSLB #775863)
- Love My Home, Inc. (CSLB #811361)
- Electric Avenue, formerly A Plus Electric Company (CSLB #569322)
- American Electric 911 Fast Inc. (CSLB #826916)
- Pro Electric Co. (CSLB #670171)
- RG Electric (CSLB #516892)
- Pacific West Heating & Air Conditioning (CSLB #604150)

If you think you have been the victim of fraud by this company and its affiliates, please contact the Contractors State License Board at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752) and press 7.

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1706

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Ambassador
2,390,964
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

These guys are like something from outer space. You stamp out one of them and the pieces grow into full flaged companies that go down the street and start all over again.

I love Jerry Brown. 

Mar 23, 2009 06:28 PM #1
Rainmaker
570,044
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Evening Gene,  This all sounds pretty outrageous !  Why arn't they in jail ?

Mar 23, 2009 07:08 PM #2
Ambassador
1,898,836
Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale

Gene- With those names, it sounds as if they may just be the real modern day gypsies. I have always been fascinated with the gypsy culture. Not that I condone illegal behavior, mind you, just that curiosity and interest in cultures.

But the bigger scam is the one in your congress right now; you know, they Mojavi desert public lands can not be used for solar energy. There are much bigger scames being perpetrated on the people of CA.

Mar 24, 2009 12:27 AM #3
Rainmaker
225,023
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

Lenn - they frequently belong to large extended families that are pretty mobile so it's tough to crack them. It's the family business - this is just a dent.

Bill - believe it or not they ain't going to jail. Instead, they now have to register their businesses, submit reports to the state and say 'I'm sorry, I won't ever do that again' 75 times. Oh, and pay a couple mil in restitution.

Kat - My folks used to tell me about the Gypsy's annual visits when they were kids. It is a fascinating worldwide sub-culture. And yes they do pale in comparison to the frauds being perpetrated against not just CA but against the American people in general. All this 'green' hoopla yet they actively oppose things like these solar resources, wind generators and so many other things that are driving us slowly into the poorhouse. Sorry - ya got me started.

Mar 24, 2009 04:03 PM #4
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Rainmaker
225,023

Gene Wunderlich

Realtor & Legislative Liaison
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