A Jefferson County man was sentenced to four months in jail and banned from working in Columbia County for six months this week after being found guilty of performing roofing work without a permit and operating a business without a license.
Sean Patrick Hughes also pleaded no contest to similar charges Thursday in Richmond County.
Hughes, 48, of Wrens, was brought before a magistrate judge in Columbia County on Wednesday on multiple violations of county ordinances, including working as a roofing contractor without a permit and failure to pay occupational tax for his business, Hughes Roofing.
Officials said Hughes had represented himself as a licensed and bonded contractor to homeowners needing roof repairs after the February ice storm. Code enforcement officials said homeowners complained of Hughes taking money in advance to do repairs, which were never started or completed.
One Martinez man filed a theft by deception complaint against Hughes on May 18. Kenneth Bowles told deputies that Hughes had taken $500 in March for a $4,000 contract to repair his home on Stevens Court. Bowles said Hughes told him the work was to begin April 8. After many phone calls, Bowles said Hughes returned in May and removed a portion of the damaged shingles, but never finished the job.
Hughes was arrested June 24 on theft by deception charges and released July 3 on $10,100 bond. He was arrested again July 18 for the code violations.
The warrant for theft was dismissed Monday, according to Magistrate Court personnel, because prosecutors decided it was a civil matter.
On Wednesday, . Columbia County Associate Magistrate Judge J. Grady Blanchard found Hughes guilty of two violations and sentenced him to 120 days in jail – two consecutive 60-day sentences with no credit for time already served. Hughes also was given six months probation, 50 hours of community service and a $1,360 fine, according to court records.
Blanchard also ordered Hughes to have no contact with the victim or work in Columbia County while he’s on probation.
On Thursday, Hughes was brought to Richmond County Magistrate Court to face similar charges before Judge H. Scott Allen.
Hughes pleaded no contest to at least four violations, including working without a permit and no business license, according to Augusta Licensing Manager Larry Harris.
Allen sentenced Hughes to 60 days confinement for the violations and said he could serve the time concurrently with his Columbia County sentence.
“I will let you be Columbia County’s problem for the next two months,” Allen said.
Kathy and Robert Wiggins, who said they gave money to Hughes for work that was never finished on their home in Augusta, observed the proceedings.
Kathy Wiggins said Hughes told them he was a “licensed and bonded” contractor, but they didn’t confirm his claims.
“That was a lesson learned,” Wiggins said. “We just want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to other people when he gets out of jail.”