EL PASO, Texas - A local business owner was sentenced to 18 months in jail for engaging in Deceptive Business Practices.
Adrian Zamarripa, 48, owner of A to Z Remodeling pleaded guilty in three separate cases, according to the El Paso County Attorney's office.
In one case, Zamarripa was given more than $100,000 to remodel a home but never completed the job. Authorities required him to repay $75,000 to the victim, however, he was only able to pay $20,500 in restitution.
After Zamarripa pleaded not guilty, Judge Alex Gonzalez sentenced him to 365 days in jail.
The two other cases involved nearly $25,000 dollars that was paid to Zamarripa in advance for home remodeling. The jobs were never completed.
Along with the 18-month jail time, Zamarripa will also have to pay a $10,000 fine.
Assistant El Paso County Attorney Ralph Girvin said fraudulent construction businesses is a major problem in the area.
In 2012, the County Attorney's office filed 101 cases of deceptive business practices with $188,700 collected in restitution. Girvin said the annual average is about 125 for El Paso County.
Girvin said that's just a portion of the complaints filed.
"We're actually on pace to probably exceed that number this year. In 2013 we've filed 23 cases," said Girvin.
From the 23 cases filed so far, more than $28,000 has been collected in restitution. He added that the County Attorney's Office prosecutes about half of the cases that are filed.
A to Z Remodeling is not a member of the Better Business Bureau, but the company was listed on the website with at warning about the its deceptive business practices.
Girvin and officials with the BBB said consumers should avoid becoming victims by researching businesses, asking questions, reading company contracts and never handing over a full amount of money before the job is completed.