SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – In a three-month investigation, ABC4 News exposes a man contracted to do a series of jobs, but his victims say he never completes the work.
Trace Conlin is the owner of Riverbend Cabinets.
Thursday, March 5th, the Davis County Attorneys Office charged Conlin with two counts of communication fraud and two counts of unlawful contracting from work not completed in 2017 and 2019. The probable cause statement filed by the Davis County Attorney states Conlin has never held a contractor’s license.
Through our investigation, we found out Conlin has done many jobs for clients who say he never completes the work.
ABC4 News also uncovered multiple cases against Conlin that ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
In one decision, a judge ordered Conlin to pay Lou Johnson back $6,100 with interest for a construction job he never completed back in 2017. The Johnson family is still waiting on the check.
Childhood friend Eric Clayton hired his old buddy to install a fence and RV pad on his property.
“As you can see right here,” he tells ABC4 News, Jason Nguyen. “There is a hole, well the whole side slides out, and so none of the fence was actually screwed in.”
“We said OK, you either show up today with your crew, like you had promised or by the next day have our money returned to us,” his wife Trish Clayton said.
The Claytons say Conlin was a no show. They too found out, he wasn’t licensed to do construction work on their property.
Across town, Nathan Sevigny hired Conlin to inspect his home. He would also later hire him to perform handyman work, something Conlin is legally allowed to do. However, Conlin was also hired to repair his roof, a contracting job he must have a license to do.
“I remember asking him if he was a contractor, could he repair my roof, and he said yes,” he said.
Sevigny claims he paid Conlin $2,500 upfront, half of the estimated cost to repair his damaged roof. But, soon after the payment, Sevigny says the excuses began.
“I contacted him, he said he was going to start that week, and then when I contacted him he said he was vacationing in Flaming George,” he added.
For months he went back and forth with Conlin over the lack of progress with the project. Finally out of frustration he took Conlin to court.
Sevigny said, “The court date was set in November of 2018, he didn’t show up.”
Once again a presiding judge sided with the plaintiff.
“I’ve kind of accepted I may not, I won’t ever see that $2,500 again,” he said. “It’s gone, but it is not OK for more people to be victimized.”
Unfortunately, others have fallen victim to Conlin’s broken promises and contracts. The Arnold family hired Conlin to put up drywall in their basement, a contracting job that requires a license.
“We come across a Facebook post about somebody who was almost verbatim what we went through,” said Matt Arnold.
“The next day he told us they would try and deliver again, and our neighbor was on stand-by,” said Nisha Wright. “He just kept lying to her about when they were going to show up with the cabinets.”
After Wright and her family spoke with ABC4 News, Conlin sued the Wright’s for defamation and requested a temporary restraining order. They claimed he never completed their kitchen cabinets, another construction job Conlin wasn’t licensed to do.
Before the order was filed, ABC4 News tracked down Conlin at his job. He wasn’t there but called us back.
ABC4’s Jason Nguyen asked, “Wanted to see if we could sit down and chat with you about everything that is going on with all your cases?”
Conlin said, “Umm, Ugh, I have no comment at this time. You can contact my attorneys if you need too.”
Nguyen replied, “We have already contacted your attorney’s and requested a sit-down.”
Conlin said, “OK.”
Then Nguyen asked, “But I have one main question, are you a licensed contractor?”
Conlin replied, “I have no comment.”
At the restraining order hearing, ABC4 News showed up, along with several of Conlin’s victims who won judgments.
Cassie Brown of D&Z Unlimited said, “It was really frustrating to see him sit there, to have read the decoration that he had filed with the court that the claims people are harming his reputation and that they are baseless.”
In court, Conlin’s lawyer Emily Cross said, “He is not robbing people, he is not scamming people, he is not taking their money, and leaving it. So these are some very baseless and harming accusations.”
Afterward, Nguyen tried talking to Conlin again saying, “Mr. Conlin, do you have anything to say or Mrs. Cross, do you have anything to say about these other people where a judgment was awarded to them and offered…”
Cross said, “No comment at this time.”
Nguyen asked, “Is your client a licensed contractor?”
Cross replied, “No comment at this time.”
So how can you ensure this doesn’t happen to you?
The Better Business Bureau suggests:
- Research to see if your project requires a licensed contractor
- Look at online reviews of the company or contractor
- Never pay for a project upfront
“Don’t give up, keep fighting, and keep reporting it. Every new place that you can think of to report it, the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Protection, DOPL, the police, anywhere you can report it is really important,” said BBB’s Jane Rupp.
ABC4 News has learned an arrest warrant for Conlin has been issued by a judge in Davis County.