Santa Cruz County

Unlicensed contractor who bilked Santa Cruz, San Diego residents arrested in San Diego

Contractor scam

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - A man convicted in Santa Cruz County for scamming residents and being an unlicensed contractor is now being held in San Diego County on similar charges.

Alex Pike Mitchell of Perris previously pleaded no contest in Santa Cruz County to five felony counts of obtaining money, labor or property by false pretenses; four misdemeanor counts of contracting without a license with a prior conviction and one count of failing to secure worker's compensation insurance. The convictions carry a maximum potential sentence of 8.8 years in state prison, according to state officials.

Mitchell originally was scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Santa Cruz County.

Santa Cruz County prosecutor William Atkinson said Mitchell is known to have scammed seven people in the county out of a total of $17,575.

Last year, the California Department of Consumer Affairs' Contractors License State Board added Mitchell to their "Most Wanted List" for numerous alleged violations.

The state agency says Mitchell often targets the elderly or homeowners with long driveways. He tells them he's working in the area and has leftover paving material at a good price, and will then write a contract and collect down payments of $1,000 to $2,500. He never returns to do the work, however.

Mitchell has a number of prior convictions for contracting without a license, including two recent counts of grand theft in San Diego County. Last month, a San Diego County Superior Judge issued three no-bail arrest warrants for Mitchell after he failed to appear in court for sentencing.

The Contractors State License Board says it has evidence that Mitchell is still ripping off unsuspecting consumers in Riverside and San Diego counties.

He has previously done business under the names Mitchell's Blacktop Service, American Asphalt Maintenance and Wildrock Constructio. He's also used the name Al Johnson.

Atkinson said Thursday that Mitchell had been arrested by San Diego County authorities and is being held there on his warrants. He will be brought back to Santa Cruz County for sentencing at a later date.

Atkinson says residents should always ask for references and proof of license when hiring contractors. According to state law, contractors are prohibited from taking more than $1,000 or 10 percent of the contract price as a down payment.

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