YOUNGSVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A contractor accused of ripping off a Youngsville family appeared in court Tuesday. Salvador Gutierrez has been on the run since January.
“I just want him to be held accountable for what he did,” said homeowner Katie Creager.
Creager had hired Gutierrez’s CMC Flooring in August 2018 to repair her fire-damaged home. It had nearly $100,000 in damages after a blaze started by a dryer.
Over the course of several weeks, the Creagers’ insurance company issued four separate checks totaling $34,000. It was meant to cover a portion of the repairs Gutierrez was supposed to make to the home by April 2019 when the funding for emergency housing ran out.
Creager said Gutierrez and his crew disappeared after completing only about 25 percent of the work. She said Gutierrez stopped answering calls and text messages.
Gutierrez’s Durham office was abandoned and left in disarray. It was also vandalized.
Youngsville police issued an arrest warrant in March for the contractor. The warrant charged Gutierrez with obtaining money under false pretenses. It said he entered into a contract to repair a residence with an invalid contractor’s license. It also said he was paid for the repairs and left the job site without completing those repairs.
Gutierrez refused an interview request from CBS 17.
He was on the run until he was picked up by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office late in May. He has been free on $5,000 bond since then.
Meanwhile, the state board which regulates contractors also got involved.
After conducting its own investigation, the board found out that Gutierrez admitted he “forged names as a qualifier for his contractor’s license.”
Based on that alone, the board said Gutierrez agreed to surrender his contractor’s license, which would amount to a permanent revocation of his contractor’s license.
He also agreed to dissolve his company and told the board he would file for bankruptcy.
Gutierrez again refused to speak with CBS 17 after his appearance in Franklin County district court. However, his attorney did speak.
“Mr. Chavez takes this case very seriously and the charges are serious charges – felony charges,” said attorney Allen Swaim. “We’re going to get to the bottom of it with the investigator and the DA.”
Because he is accused of a felony, Gutierrez‘s case was moved from district court over to the Franklin County superior court for a Nov. 19 trial date.
But, the Creager family says this is been a long and frustrating experience.
“With him being arrested, I guess we will find out if he could be held accountable for what he did instead of roaming free,” Creager said.
After CBS 17’s story of the family’s plight, a local Youngsville builder stepped in to repair their home. Creager said Atlas Custom Builders ended up putting out more money to fix the home than the insurance covered.
“Atlas had to pay $17,000 and change for damages he caused or for stuff he did incorrectly,’’ Creager said.
Gutierrez’s lawyer said he’d like to get the case resolved by the time it comes to trial in November, but Swaim said a lot of that depends on what the police investigator and the district attorney have to say about the case.
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