OGDEN — Police have arrested an Ogden man accused of defrauding homeowners in Roy and other communities on incomplete roofing projects, and investigators are asking other suspected victims to come forward.
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office, the Roy Police Department and Davis County authorities have investigations involving Anthony Tobias Aguilar, 55, based on reports of abandoned roofing or other home projects after the customers make significant down payments.
Aguilar is facing three criminal cases thus far in Second District Court, each charging him with a second degree felony, communications fraud, and a class A misdemeanor, hiring without a license.
In a social media post Thursday, the sheriff’s office urged people who may have been victims of Aguilar to contact non-emergency dispatch at 801 395-8221 or the police department where they live. “We believe (Aguilar) has other victims who have not filed a report or been told it is a civil issue,” the sheriff’s office said.
In the cases under investigation thus far, Aguilar and a client entered into a signed contract for roofing or other work. He would take a down payment, then do a job but supposedly not complete it or provide a refund.
A probable cause statement filed with the court by the sheriff’s office said sheriff’s investigators have seven Aguilar cases, Roy police have at least two and Davis County law enforcement agencies have others.
“Our detectives were able to show a pattern of fraudulent activity of taking money from people with the intent not to complete the job,” Lt. Colby Ryan, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Friday.
According to charging documents in the sheriff’s case, a client hired Aguilar for a $5,000 roofing job, which was completed satisfactorily. Then, the client contracted the reconstruction of a roof and the felling of a tree. The quoted price was $5,000 and the customer paid a $4,000 down payment. Aguilar brought some materials but allegedly did not do any work and told the client the cost would be $10,000.
In one Roy case, a customer reported that he paid Aguilar $6,000 for a $10,000 roof job, but he allegedly did no more work after ripping about a third of the roof off. Another Roy client described in a second criminal case that Aguilar allegedly collected $7,600 for a roofing project. He completed around 60% of the work, but reportedly never finished it again and ignored attempts to be contacted.
The sheriff’s office said it began its investigations after the Utah Division of Professional Licensing informed police that it had numerous similar complaints about Aguilar. A check of UDOPL records on Friday did not show any contractor’s license for Anthony Aguilar.
Ryan suggested that consumers do a little research before hiring contractors. Methods include Internet searches and verification with the Better Business Bureau and UDOPL. “Also ask to see a contractor’s license,” he said.
Ryan said several other people had come forward Friday with reports of problematic dealings with Aguilar. He said the sheriff’s detectives are coordinating with his counterparts at other local police agencies involved.
Aguilar was released from the Weber County Jail after posting $2,500 bond. But at a detention hearing Wednesday, Judge Jennifer Valencia ordered the man held without bail and told him to report to jail the day after Christmas.
Ryan said disputes with contractors reach a criminal level when authorities find intent to defraud and a pattern in activity. “If it’s just a disagreement between a contractor and an owner who isn’t happy with the work and something isn’t right, it’s a civil matter,” he said.