3OYS: Plumber goes 'down the drain' with homeowner's house

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- "Sunrise, sunset it doesn’t' get much better." Breathtaking views are a big reason why Chris Camboni decided to build a custom home right here in Apache Junction. "1,817 square feet."

The house is basically done now but in the early building stages, Camboni, of course had to install water lines throughout the home. So, he hired a company called Solutions Plus Plumbing Services owned by a guy named Joe Larned. "The bid was $6,000. I gave him $3,000 and then when we were done with the under the slab stuff and he had plumbed the house, hooked up the shower stuff like that, we came back and I gave him another $2,000."

For a total of $5,000 Camboni says things seemed to be moving smoothly and all the plumbing was almost done, but Camboni said things hit a sour note. "It's not the work, it's that I was lied too."

Camboni says he found out Larned wasn't even a licensed contractor which is required by state law. Camboni says if he had known that, he never would have hired or even trusted Larned to plumb his new house. However, Larned portrays himself as licensed. In fact he clearly lists a license number at the bottom of his contracts a license number he took from a legitimate and reputable plumbing company. Camboni added; "I just told him not to come back."

Feeling duped Camboni also demanded his money back. After all he was paying a premium rate to someone who technically isn't qualified in the eyes of the law. "I called him and the first time here's what I’m going to do I’m going to do, I’m going to call the Pinal county sheriff’s department, I’m going to call the R.O.C. and I’m going to call Gary Harper."

Time to find out what Larned is up to, so 3 On Your Side went to his Apache Junction home and although no one answered the door we found plenty of plumbing related items like this work truck and plumbing invoices inside.

Later, 3 On Your Side managed to talk to him on the phone and he agreed to talk to 3 On Your Side but then backed out, twice.

Turns out Larned was convicted last year for theft for stealing almost $72,000 from his former employer. A court has ordered Larned to pay the victim in that case restitution.

As for Camboni, he says Larned has returned $2,000 back to him but says he wants all the money he gave Larned.

He also hopes his home won't experience any plumbing problems since Larned isn't licensed. 

"I told him 5 months ago I was going to get Gary Harper to take a look at this apparently he wasn't worried about it."

He should be worried about it and not because Gary Harper is involved.

State investigators with the Registrar of Contractors frown upon stuff like this.

By the way, Larned did tell 3 On Your Side he would return some money. We’ll let you know if he does.