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Six months in jail for unregistered contractor who stole from two homeowners

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March 6, 2019 #19-007

Olympia – An unregistered contractor who accepted thousands of dollars from two homeowners but never completed the work must serve six months behind bars.

Marshall Christopher McKenna, 32, of Chehalis, also has been ordered to repay the two customers more than $20,400.

In a hearing Tuesday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price sentenced McKenna on one count of felony, first-degree theft and two counts of unregistered contracting, a gross misdemeanor.

The judge allowed McKenna to leave jail during the day to earn money to repay the victims; however, he must return to the jail and stay there when he is not at work.

The Washington Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case based on a contractor compliance investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

McKenna was doing business as Hunters Custom Flooring & Remodel LLC when the incidents happened. Under the law, contractors must be registered with L&I to give bids and perform work; McKenna's flooring business hasn't been registered since August 2012.

Ignored requests to finish job or return money

One of McKenna's victims was an Olympia woman in her 80s. In the fall of 2012, she wrote him six checks totaling more than $18,000 to tile and grout an outside deck. According to court records, apart from dropping off some tile at her home, McKenna never started the project.

The next year, a Lacey couple hired him to retile a shower stall, paying McKenna $2,900. He did some work, but never finished.

In both cases, court records said, McKenna failed to return money or finish the jobs despite numerous requests.

Chance to avoid felony conviction

McKenna originally pleaded guilty to the offenses in May 2015, but was given the chance to avoid a felony conviction and face a lower sentence if he fulfilled several conditions within two years. Under the agreement, he was required to repay the victims, perform 240 hours of community service, maintain sobriety and break no criminal laws.

Court documents said the purpose of the plea deal was to give him time and incentive to pay restitution and complete the community service.

McKenna, however, never made any payments to the victims and didn't provide proof that he performed community service. In 2016, he was convicted for unlawful possession of heroin and third-degree theft stemming from a July 2015 incident; he has another third-degree theft charge pending from a November 2015 incident, according to court records.

The court issued a warrant for McKenna's arrest when he failed to appear at a sentencing hearing in June 2017. He was arrested last month.

Check contractor registration at ProtectMyHome.net

State law requires construction contractors to register with L&I, which confirms they have a business license, bond, liability insurance, and meet other requirements. When consumers hire registered contractors, they have some financial recourse in case of problems.

You can check if contractors are currently registered with L&I by going to ProtectMyHome.net or calling L&I at 1-800-647-0982.

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For media information: Debby Abe, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6043.

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

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