A Tulare based construction company and its husband-and-wife owners have been convicted on several fraud counts for defrauding homeowners trying to rebuild their homes in Sonoma County after the 2017 Tubbs wildfire of 2017.
Chiaramonte Construction and Plumbing and owners Salvador and Pamela Chiaramonte pleaded no contest to some the charges against them at an April 29 court hearing. While “no contest” is not an admission of guilt, it it carries the same weight as a guilty verdict. Their daughter Amy Diane Perry also pleaded no contest.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 14.
According to the Sonoma County Superior Court , Salvador pleaded no contest to 13 felony counts of diversion of funds of at least $1,000 each, The Sun-Gazette reported in May 5. “He also pleaded no contest to an additional felony count of theft from the elderly. Pamela pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge of diversion of funds and their daughter pleaded no contest to one felony count of diversion of funds of more than $1,000.”
In 2019, Salvador was charged with 59 different felony counts including grand theft of personal property, diversion of construction funds, theft from the elderly and theft by false pretenses, according to the Contractors State License Board and the Sonoma County Superior Court. Both Pamela and Perry were each named as co-defendants on all counts. The company was charged with stealing a total of a little more than $1 million, the newspaper reported.
The Chiamontes’ will still need to deal with several civil court filings from former clients.
CALFIRE reorts that the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa and Sonoma Counties burned almost 37,000 acres, destroyed 5,636 structures and resulted in 22 civilian fatalities according to CALFIRE.
“Chiaramonte Construction and Plumbing seemingly came to the aid of several homeowners,” the published report says. “The Contractors State License Board began to receive several complaints about the company which initiated a months-long investigation obtaining four search warrants. During the investigation the board reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed several victims. The company’s contractor license was suspended and eventually revoked. “