LOS ANGELES – In his continuing efforts to protect consumers, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced his office has secured restitution for 23 victims allegedly scammed by Chatsworth-based California Restoration, a $250,000 restitution fund for additional victims and a civil penalty of $150,000. The City Attorney’s lawsuit alleged that for at least the past four years, California Restoration regularly engaged in fraudulent business practices.
“Imagine your home is flooded with sewage and the company you call for help takes advantage of you instead,” said Feuer. “Whether it’s Wells Fargo creating fake accounts, phony lawyers scamming immigrants or sewage removal companies allegedly victimizing customers, we will fight to hold L.A. businesses accountable and stand up for consumers. That’s why, in addition to the restitution we’ve gotten for 23 victims, we’ve set up a fund for other customers who believe they’ve been victimized. We’re now asking them to come forward.”
California Restoration, owned by Matthew and James Monroe, is a Chatsworth-based water damage restoration company that removes water and sewage from residential homes. The City Attorney’s complaint alleges that for at least the past four years, the company regularly engaged in the following unlawful business practices:
Used contracts that omitted the description of the work to be completed, the cost of the project, the approximate date of completion, and the customers’ three-day right to cancel.
Made substantial misrepresentations in the procurement of the contract and defrauded customers with false and fraudulent pretenses.
Made false and fraudulent statements in support of claims submitted to insurance companies.
Unlawfully initiated legal action against former customers and dissuaded them from cooperating with the Contractor’s State License Board.
Feuer’s office spearheaded the case following a collaboration with the Contractor’s State License Board, the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Insurance. After California Restoration had its contractor license suspended, the City Attorney moved to address past violations, identify victims and ensure that future violations do not occur.
In addition to requiring California Restoration to pay restitution and penalties, the company will remove all liens placed against former customers and dismiss all pending lawsuits against former clients. California Restoration also must:
Allow customers to cancel contracts up until midnight of the third day after the contract is signed.
Use the same language in its contracts that it used during its oral sales presentations.
Not dissuade customers from reporting their experiences to regulatory agencies, including Contractors State Licensing Board.
Make only truthful statements to customers and the public at large about their services.
Include in all its contacts key information, including the cost of the work to be comple