DLLR Investigation Leads to Conviction of Unlicensed Contractors


(BALTIMORE, 4/8/10) -- A father and son team of unlicensed home improvement contractors pleaded guilty to forgery and other charges in Carroll County Circuit Court in a criminal case stemming from an investigation by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

"This is a particularly egregious case that vividly illustrates the risks of hiring unlicensed contractors," said Stanley Botts, Commissioner of Occupational and Professional Licensing. "Consumers should check the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) web site, which can be accessed from a link on DLLR's home page, before hiring anyone to do work at their homes to see if that person or business is licensed."

"We want to thank the Office of the State Attorney in Carroll County for its outstanding cooperation with us in obtaining this result on behalf of Maryland consumers. However, the best results for homeowners come from not getting involved with unlicensed contractors in the first place."

Edward F. and Thomas Moriarty, operating as Garage Direct Co., were accused of obtaining $72,200 in payments from a Mount Airy homeowner to build a garage but doing defective work and then not finishing the job. In addition, Thomas Moriarty was accused of forging the homeowner's signature on the building permit.

Thomas Moriarty, 40, of Dickerson, who is currently in federal prison on an unrelated wire fraud conviction, agreed to plead guilty to common law forgery and acting as a contractor without a license. He was sentenced to 9 years and 11 months in prison on the forgery charge and 30 days on the unlicensed contacting charge, but those sentences were suspended to allow an opportunity to pay restitution. He was also put on five years of supervised probation. Both Moriartys are under order to pay approximately $200,000 in restitution, civil judgments and damages.

Edward F. Moriarty Jr., 72, of Gaithersburg, agreed to plead guilty to failure to perform a home improvement. He was sentenced to five years of unsupervised probation.

Edward Moriarty was licensed by the MHIC as a contractor from 1995 until 2007. Thomas Moriarty has never held an MHIC license. The MHIC previously charged Thomas Moriarty in Howard County District Court with failure to perform a contract and acting as a contractor without a license. On Jan. 21, 2010, he pleaded guilty to acting as a contractor and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Commissioner Botts praised Carroll County Assistant State's Attorney Arian Noma and MHIC investigator Michael Miller for their diligent work and cooperation in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.

The MHIC refers an average of approximately 30 cases per month for criminal prosecution in local courts around Maryland and obtains an average of approximately 20 convictions a month.