Santa Barbara contractor pleads guilty to conversion, prevailing wage fraud and unlawful money transmission

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mark melchiori
Mark Melchiori

A Santa Barbara contractor has pled guilty to diverting construction funds, felony prevailing wage fraud and felony unlawful money transmission.

In a news release, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley said on Oct. 18 that Mark John Melchiori also admitted a special allegation that the amount taken was in excess of $100,000.00 within the meaning of Penal Code section 1203.045, and an aggravated white collar crime enhancement that the amount he took was in excess of $500,000.00 within the meaning of Penal Code section 186.11(a)(2).

This case arose from a complaint by victim Robert Zemeckis that he had paid Melchiori Construction Company several hundred thousand dollars to remodel his home, but the defendant illegally used the money for his own purposes.

After an exhaustive investigation, the District Attorney’s Office found that the defendant had used Zemeckis’s money to finance his own lavish lifestyle and to fund other projects, the statement said.

“With the assistance of both the California Department of Insurance and the California Department of Industrial Relations, the District Attorney’s Office also found that the defendant had been under paying his workers on public works projects to finance his lifestyle, and that he had been funneling money through various companies to cover up his crimes.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 8, 2020. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 9 years, 4 months in state prison.

The guilty plea follows a lengthy investigation and court process, which started after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

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