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Man accused of defrauding residents out of thousands

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By David Giuliani

A Las Vegas man has defrauded at least five residents out of thousands of dollars on the promise that he would repair their roofs or do other construction work, court documents state.

But after getting the money, the suspect, Mario Mendoza, either hasn’t started the work or did very little, according to documents filed in Magistrate Court on Nov. 1. And the victims told authorities that they couldn’t reach Mendoza by phone or find him at his listed address.

Mendoza, 50, 810 E. Roybal, has been charged with three counts of felony fraud, one count of misdemeanor fraud and five counts of construction without a license.

His latest crimes were committed despite a court order earlier this year in which he was barred from repairing or constructing homes unless he were properly licensed to do so, according to court documents. Officials expect more victims to come forward.

In the earlier case, Mendoza pleaded guilty to fraud for taking $7,500 from a victim when the victim hired him to remodel a house, documents state. He didn’t finish the work.

That sounds familiar to the more recent cases. A woman approached Las Vegas police to tell officers that Mendoza promised to do major improvements to her home. They entered an agreement on July 27, and she gave him $5,600 for materials, labor and other expenses so that he could fulfill the contract, documents state.

She told officers that Mendoza hadn’t completed the work and that she wasn’t able to reach him.

A city police officer, Martin Salazar, contacted the district attorney’s office and found that the agency had received similar complaints. The office gave him contact numbers for other alleged victims, so he could continue his investigation.

Police found that another victim gave Mendoza $2,500 to start roof repairs and that the victim also offered his 1996 Chevrolet pickup truck as payment for the roof job. Mendoza never started the job, court records state.

The victim told police that he let Mendoza use his truck because Mendoza said he needed it to pick up materials from Home Depot. The victim later found the truck abandoned with a broken clutching system on Grand Avenue, according to the documents.

Yet another victim told police that he gave Mendoza $1,100 to begin work on his house. But soon after, Mendoza told the victim that his father and his sister had fallen ill and that he would finish the job when they recovered. But he never returned, the victim alleged.

From the other two victims, Mendoza received more than $500 for work he never finished, the documents state.