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Unlicensed contractor arrested in Bend on theft by fraud charge; detectives seek other scam victims

(Update: Adding video)

Deputies say Calif. man found victims on Facebook, made off with down payments

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – An unlicensed contractor from California was arrested in Bend on a Crook County charge of theft by deception or fraud this week. Deschutes County sheriff’s detectives said Thursday they believe there have been other victims of his scam around Central Oregon and want to hear from them.

In March, a sheriff’s detective began receiving information from several Deschutes and Crook County citizens regarding “Quesada Handyman Service” and Jacob I.C. Quesada, 29, of Lodi, California, Sergeant Kent Vander Kamp said.

The citizens said Quesada was being paid for jobs such as residential and commercial flooring and deck installations and painting.

Vander Kamp noted state law requires contractors to have licenses and insurance to offer such services, but Quesada had neither.

Quesada often advertised his services on Facebook and would communicate with potential customers on that social media platform, the sergeant said. Victims would meet in person and provide down payments to Quesada, but sometimes he’d never return; other times, he began the work and stopped in mid-project, or the work was substandard, he said.

Detectives investigating the claims found a Crook County victim who lost “substantial money” to Quesada, Vander Kamp said, adding that detectives believe Quesada is a California resident who returns to the Central Oregon area regularly to pursue the scam.

Earlier this month, a Deschutes County detective presented the case to the Crook County District Attorney’s Office and an arrest warrant was obtained.

Quesada was stopped Tuesday in Bend for a traffic violation – no license plates or a valid temporary registration – and was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on the Crook County charge of first-degree theft by deception or fraud, Vander Kamp said.

He was released the next day after posting 10 percent of his $15,000 bail, but has since been indicted on the charge, the sergeant said.

Vander Kamp said more charges are expected, as detectives believe there are other victims of Quesada’s scam in Central Oregon. Anyone who has been a victim is asked to call Vander Kamp at 541-550-4869 or dispatchers at 541-693-6911 to make a report, referencing Case No. 21-22798.

The sheriff’s office also reminded citizens to “use caution and due diligence when hiring a contractor. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board website offers resources to help avoid common scams and confirm a professional’s license status.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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