Several Maricopa County, Arizona residents who say they were defrauded by Bill Schlosser, an alleged unlicensed landscape contractor, were happy to see him finally get arrested on Jan. 4. He’s been accused by them of taking large sums of money in advance of landscape and hardscape projects and walking away before they were finished, according to a story in The Arizona Republic and posted on AZCentral.
There are three open cases against Schlosser. A warrant was issued for his arrest last December after the Surprise resident failed to appear at a pretrial conference earlier in the month. In that case, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office is charging the 41-year-old with contracting without a license.
Several other cases and claims are pending against him, some involving jobs performed under the Modern Outdoor business name. Neither Schlosser nor his attorney responded to The Arizona Republic's request for comment.
Five families reported being scammed by Schlosser. At the time, city, county and state investigators were reviewing several claims against the man, and a few had been passed onto the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which subsequently filed charges against him. The Surprise Police Department is still investigating two of those cases.
The case for which Schlosser failed to appear in court involved two other Surprise residents, Aaron and Rebecca Weeks. They told reporters that they’d they hired Schlosser to install pavers and build an outdoor barbecue, fireplace and pergola in their back yard, paying him $11,700 in advance for the work. However, most of it did not get done, nor were the subcontractors involved paid.
Aaron Weeks says that he and his wife proceeded with their case as a form of community service to protect other residents, fearing that Schlosser might move to another community and commit similar offenses. "I'm glad that we were able to get him away from the West Valley," Weeks said. "Maybe I protected some neighbors."
In another case, a Peoria man claims that, on Dec. 19, 2017, Schlosser advertised his ability to perform a service and engaged in a contract with him, without possessing a contractor's license. Also on that same date, Schlosser allegedly wrote a bad check, knowing there weren’t enough funds in his bank account at the time.
Contracting without a license is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona, punishable on first offense by a fine of at least $1,000. For a second offense, or any other subsequent offense, the fine doubles, to at least $2,000. Knowingly issuing a bad check is also a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, three years of probation and a $2,500 fine.
Victims have filed claims against Schlosser with several different state agencies. In Arizona, people who believe they have been a taken in a contracting scam have many different paths for recourse. They can file a civil lawsuit, file a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors, file a criminal report with the local police department or file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office.