Bad contractor locked up for ripping off subcontractors

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 2:05 PM

John Mulinski appeared in King County court to admit he is a thief.

The Covington contractor now says from 2007 to 2010, he ripped off no less than eight of his subcontractors. And for that he'll serve 70 months in prison.

“I have the sense that justice has been made,” says victim Ricardo Torres.

Mulinski hit Torres’ carpet business for $25,000. “I feel sorry for the people he ripped off. And I think it's unfortunate there are people like that. No I don't feel happy at all," Torres explains.

Mulinski's construction businesses once stretched from California to Montana. And the complaints did too. Homeowners in Washington started voicing concerns to authorities about Mulinski's business practices.

Ian Goodhew told me when Mulinski was first charged that, “He's telling the victims of the homes that he's building he's paying the subcontractors with the money they're giving them. He's not paying the money to the subcontractors. But telling the subcontractors the people he's the building homes for haven't paid him the money meanwhile he's keeping all of the money for himself.”
 
In 2010 Mulinski was charged with 18 counts of felony theft in King County. And while on bond for those charges he began working in Montana. According to Keith Kelly, Montana’s Department of Labor and Industry, Mulinski made himself known to authorities pretty quickly.

”You have people come into town with a pickup and a cell phone and set up business and take advantage of people who are getting homes built or roofs put on their homes and this individual was gaming the system from the get go," says Commissioner Kelly.

In just a few months, Kelly hit Mulinski with a $40,000 fine for breaking Montana's contractor registration law. “So here he was putting roofing on houses get them partially started, getting a bunch of down payment and now you have to run them down."

Mulinski was also convicted in federal court in Montana on three counts of wire fraud.

At his federal sentencing, Mulinski was immediately placed into custody. He will call the Missoula County Jail home until the Bureau of Prisons chooses a location. He's also been ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution for the Montana cases. Payback in the King County cases has yet to be determined.

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