California contractor couple (and fugitives) Constance Ruth Gabriel, 51, and William Ernest Gabriel, 65, who together owned and operated Sunrooms America, were arrested in Arizona recently. The couple now faces upwards of 79 charges, including 33 felonies, for grand theft and elder abuse among other things. Their scheme is all too common: Convince clients to make large down payments on jobs that were either never started, or started and then quickly abandoned, according to the California Contractors State License Board. The couple stands accused of stealing more than $850,000. The arrest shows that fraudulent contractors aren’t in the clear even if they flee the state where the crimes were committed.
James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.