Commonwealth v. Francisco Gomez; Construction Fraud Against 92-Year-Old WWII Vet Draws 5-Year Prison Sentence

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Francisco Gomez, 61 years old, formerly of the 100 block of Caratoke Highway in Moyock, North Carolina, was sentenced yesterday by Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick for Fail to Perform Construction Return for Advances >$200 (felony "Construction Fraud"). Judge Padrick sentenced Gomez to five (5) years in prison. This sentence is above the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines, which recommended he serve no more than three (3) years. 

Gomez pled guilty on May 31, 2017.  Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven on June 13, 2016, the 92-year-old victim entered into a signed contract with Francisco Gomez to remove and replace the victim's roof.  The total cost of the roof job was $11,000. The victim gave Gomez a check for $7,000 to start the roof job, with the agreement that the remaining $4,000 would be paid upon completion. Gomez cashed the $7000.00 check the same day but did not begin the work on the roof.  Weeks went by, during which time the victim made several phone calls attempting to contact Gomez regarding the roof.  Each time, Gomez had an excuse.  After three months the victim contacted Virginia Beach police.  The victim was advised to mail a letter by certified mail return receipt requested to the defendant's last known address requesting a return of the $7,000.  The victim did so, but Gomez has never made any attempt to return the $7,000.00 nor has he done any work on the roof.  

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office offers the following advice to help avoid becoming a victim of construction fraud:

  • Never pay the full price of a job before it's done; pay in increments as work is completed.
  • If you pay in advance for the contractor to purchase materials, make sure they arrive at your home along with invoices indicating what was bought and paid.
  • Pay with a personal check or credit card, which can be tracked more easily than cash.
  • Don't do business with contractors who knock on your door; find listed, licensed, and insured local construction companies.
  • Get at least three written estimates.

Gomez has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1995 and has a history of committing these types of offenses against the elderly.  His prior record includes Obtaining Property by False Pretenses (7 counts), Contempt (2 counts), Operate without Business License, Conduct without Business License, and Obtain Money through Mental Incapacity (2 counts).   

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kevin R. Jules. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.