MURRIETA – A judge today denied a request for lower bail for a Lake Elsinore man accused of posing as a licensed contractor and taking customers’ money for jobs that he barely started — and never finished — before disappearing.
Reynaldo Rodriguez Jr., 31, was arrested Dec. 10 following an investigation by Riverside County sheriff’s detectives that culminated in the filing of more than four dozen felony and misdemeanor charges, including grand theft, burglary, contracting without a license, embezzling from an elder or disabled victim and a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing a white- collar crime.
Rodriguez appeared today before Superior Court Judge Jerome Block at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. Deputy Public Defender Mark Davis submitted a motion seeking to have Rodriguez’s $250,000 bail reduced, but the prosecution objected, and Block found there were grounds for maintaining the current surety.
Rodriguez has prior felony convictions for possession of illegal drugs and committing contractor fraud, both of which resulted in jail time and probation, court records show.
The defendant is being held at the Southwest Detention Center.
According to sheriff’s officials, investigators were informed in early December of suspected fraudulent activity, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in losses to property owners.
Lt. Zachary Hall alleged that the defendant presented himself as a ”legitimate contractor” while soliciting work.
”Once a quote was provided and monies were paid, Rodriguez either completed very little work — or none at all,” Hall said. ”Rodriguez conducted business under the name ‘R&R Construction’ or ‘Ray’s Hardscapes.”’
Multiple alleged victims were identified initially, but according to the District Attorney’s Office, even more people came forward — 24 in all — alleging fraud after the defendant was jailed.
Block scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for Feb. 20.