Fraudulent contractor ordered to pay $15K in restitution

PROVIDENCE – A Rhode Island man has been ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution after portraying himself as a contractor despite not having the proper registration or licenses needed to perform the work, Attorney General Peter F. Neronha said Tuesday.

Kennedy Bui of North Smithfield held himself out to be a contractor, performed incomplete and substandard work, failed to obtain required building permits and abandoned the home remodeling project after receiving a $15,000 cash deposit in violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, according to an agreement of voluntary compliance, approved in Rhode Island Superior Court on Feb. 23.

Under the agreement, Bui will give the customer full restitution of $15,000, plus pay a $1,000 civil penalty to the R.I. Office of the Attorney General. He also agreed to cease performing unregistered or unlicensed work.

“Given the high demand for home improvement work and rising costs for materials during the pandemic, Rhode Island consumers are placed at risk of falling victim to scams,” Neronha said. “Unscrupulous contractors often demand large, upfront payments before performing incomplete and shoddy work. My message to these types of predatory businesses: our office stands ready to protect consumers and businesses who play by the rules, and if you break the law and rip people off Rhode Islanders, we will be there to ensure you are held accountable.”

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Bui, who is not a registered contractor, entered into a contract to perform remodeling work on a customer’s master bedroom and three bathrooms, among other areas. The contract included plumbing, electric and structural framework, but he was not registered as a contractor at the R.I. Department of Business Regulation. He also did not have plumber and electrician licenses from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

Bui accepted a $15,000 deposit to begin the work on the $22,500 project in February 2021. He began significant demolition, electrical and plumbing work. However, over time Bui became less and less responsive before eventually abandoning the project and could not be reached to return the customer’s deposit.