A notoriously mobile landscaper/contractor named to the Contractors State License Board’s “Most Wanted” list in the wake of crimes committed here in Lamorinda and elsewhere in Contra Costa has resurfaced – under yet another name – this time in Alameda and Santa Clara counties.
“I can’t believe he’s still getting away with this,” said San Jose resident Linda York, who contacted this site Thursday after growing suspicious of her contractor, who has been doing business recently as Orlando Parras. “He took my neighbor for a large sum of money and and threatened him when he wouldn’t pay. When we called the authorities he took off, leaving his trucks and equipment behind…”
And apparently, York said, some family members who were with the unlicensed contractor – whose true name is believed to be Adan Contreras Rivas – at the time.
We first wrote about Contreras in February. For some up-front money he’d tend your yard, trim trees or fix a drainage issue. It turns out, Contreras is best at taking the money and not so good at fixing things.
Investigators said Rivas has been operating a number of businesses, including: Parras Landscaping and Pavers, View Tree Service, High Tech Tree Care, New View Tree Care, New View Tree Service, One Way Tree Service, View Maintenance & Landscaping, View Landscaping & Tree Service, High Tech Tree Care.
They said Rivas has victimized more than two dozen Bay Area families by soliciting landscaping and tree removal services. Rivas usually focuses his attention on more affluent neighborhoods, often targeting the elderly. It’s alleged that after reaching an agreement with a homeowner, Rivas takes an excessive down payment and then abandons the job.
Rivas was last believed to be living in Concord, though family members have been traced to San Jose. In Lamorinda and Walnut Creek he left at least 11 customers holding the clippings bag to the tune of about $64,000 and appears to be back in business down South.
A no bail arrest warrant was issued for the 34-year-old last year on 10 felony counts of fraud, and there’s a slew of misdemeanor charges pending against him as well. An attempt to capture him at work in Livermore failed recently when Rivas apparently realized investigators were closing in, calmly walking into the backyard of the home he was working on and jumping adjacent fences until he got away.
Rivas, who most victims agree has something of a beguiling manner and a certain patter, operated in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, San Ramon and Alamo-Danville. Investigators accuse him of diverting construction funds, taking excessive down payments, and contracting without a license.
“Luckily I didn’t give him very much money but the more I got into this the more I realized how much he has taken from others,” York said Thursday. “He really needs to be caught.”