Baffling builder back in court for even more charges

Look who's back. "Big Time" builder James Ciarmataro was arraigned last Friday on several felony charges. Now he's been arraigned again, in another county, for another felony.

Ciarmataro was in district court in Allen Park on Thursday. His latest charges? Felony larceny by conversion and misdemeanor unlicensed builder.

Less than a week ago, Ciarmataro was in two other courtrooms and arraigned on the same charges in Macomb County: 2 counts of larceny and unlicensed builder in Romeo and one count of larceny and unlicensed builder in Shelby Township.

In both of those cases, he had a $50,000 bond and managed to bond out. 

All of these new charges were brought up against Ciarmataro after he landed in the Hall of Shame back in January. When Rob Wolchek busted him, he was already facing three felonies.

Rob Wolchek did a Hall of Shame story on him in January: Complaints build against baffling builder

James, who never got a contractor's license - despite saying he did - had been running his company for only about a year. In that time he racked up a bunch of customers who told me he'd taken their money and never did the work.

Even though Ciarmataro had a bunch of unhappy customers who said he took their money and either ran or did incomplete work, James said he was a victim.  

"I'm a victim of identity theft," he said at the time.

Even though Ciarmataro, the owner of Maddox Construction, admitted to me that he doesn't even have a contractor's license.

This is the fourth time Ciarmataro has been charged with working as an unlicensed builder under a law Wolchek helped push through.  This law now has some teeth to it.

About ten years ago, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law a package of builder bills that came about after several lawmakers at the time saw Hall of Shame stories on rip off contractors. The bills were sponsored by a bi-partisan group of senators.

The new laws made the penalties a lot tougher on unlicensed contractors, with a fine for each count of 
Unlicensed builder not less than $5,000 and possibly a year in jail.

So if you are keeping score Ciarmataro is now charged with four counts of working as an unlicensed builder,  4 counts of larceny by conversion less than $20,000, 3 counts of identity theft, one count of uttering and publishing, and one count of illegal use or sale of transaction device.

His bond was set on Thursday at $20,000, which he once again came up with.