Monterey County

Monterey County couple sentenced to jail for contracting fraud

SALINAS, Calif. - A husband and wife from Monterey were each sentenced to a year in a jail after pleading no contest to criminal charges stemming from illegal contracting.

Daniel Furness, 61, and Coleen Gsell, 59, were sentenced Friday. Gsell also will serve three years of misdemeanor probation; her husband was placed on five years of felony probation.

The pair also was ordered to pay about $5 million in restitution to victims, including the state Franchise Tax Board.

Though never licensed by the Contractors State License Board, Furness and Gsell owned and operated a window installation and painting business using the names "windowdesign, inc.," "Window Design" and "Fresh Paint." They illegally used contractor license numbers assigned to other people and received more than $4 million in compensation for more than 600 local homeowners.

Prosecutors say the couple cheated on disability insurance, unemployment insurance and taxes due from an employer by underreporting their company's payroll and number of employees to the Employment Development Department.

Additionally, the pair underreported income on tax returns for both the company and themselves in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and assisted employees in filing fraudulent tax returns, forged documents and committed other fraud, prosecutors said.

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