Investigators nab 'most wanted' unlicensed contractor

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by By Gary Harper and LiAna Arenas / 3 On Your Side

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on August 18, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 26 at 10:38 AM

PHOENIX -- He's one of Arizona's "most wanted" unlicensed contractors, but thanks to 3 On Your Side, he is off the street.

The Registrar of Contractors has a most wanted list and on that list are the names and photos of men wanted by the law for allegedly ripping off consumers.

But because of 3 On Your Side's involvement, one of those men has been arrested and 3 On Your Side caught it all on tape.

His name is John Monticalvo, an unlicensed contractor whose run from the law just ended.

Monticalvo is wanted by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and with help from 3 On Your Side, authorities were able to make the arrest.

Manuel and Felicidad Abrenica couldn't be happier about the arrest. They wrote out a check for $60,000 and gave it to Monitcalvo, who was supposed to build them a home, but they claim all Monticalvo did was take their money.

"That's a lot of money for us," Manuel said. "It's a lot of saving for us."

"Especially that we're already retired and that's the only income we have," Felicidad said.

Once you meet the Abrenicas, you soon realize their faith is everything.

"Now that I'm retired, I want everything done for the lord," Felicidad said.

And that's exactly why they were building a home. The house was supposed to be constructed on a plot of land that they had purchased in Maricopa and once built it would be used by missionaries.

Monticalvo was their contractor.

"Our dream is to build a 10-bedroom in order to retreat every year, a Christian retreat, and help elderly people in between those things," Felicidad said.

But after taking the couple's life savings of $60,000, Monticalvo vanished with all the money, something Manuel and Felcidad say has ruined them.

"We are moving from house to house, from renting house to renting like that," Manuel said. "I have to go back to work. Luckily, I convinced all my kids to stay with us and share everything."

Monticalvo eventually made it on to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors' most wanted list.

He was wanted for contracting without a license, but despite a warrant for his arrest, he's been able to elude police. Until recently when 3 On Your Side found Monticalvo at his Surprise home loading up a truck and moving out.

But Monticalvo wasn't able to move far. With assistance from the Surprise Police Department, the unlicensed contractor was taken into custody and 3 On Your Side was there.

Monticalvo claims he actually did some work like grading the lot, but that's it.

He never had an answer as to why he kept all that money, $60,000, and just stopped showing up.

"They ran out of money," Monticalvo told 3 On Your Side.

"They gave you $60,000, John, how did they run out of money?" 3 On Your Side asked.

When asked if he felt bad, Monticalvo told 3 On Your Side, "Oh, I do feel bad and I feel like whatever I can do to help them."

Help them? How about returning the Abrenicas' life savings? Money they don't know if they'll ever see again.

The couple told 3 On Your side they did have one of their prayers answered.

"We just want that guy to be nailed down or to be put in a prison already," Manuel said.

A prayer fulfilled on this day when Monticalvo was hauled off in cuffs.

Monticalvo spent the last two days in jail before posting bond late this afternoon, so he's out. But remember, he was arrested for allegedly contracting without a license. However, authorities are looking into more serious charges now particularly in the Abrenicas' claim that he took $60,000.

If something happens, we'll let you know.

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