A roofer who was criminally charged twice in 13 months for working illegally as a contractor has been sentenced to 15 days behind bars. Peter Daniel Yeaman, 57, pleaded guilty Thursday in Mason County (Washington) District Court to a gross misdemeanor charge of unregistered contracting. Judge Victoria Meadows imposed the jail time, and ordered Yeaman to pay $1,000 in penalties and repay his victim $5,000.
Since 2013, Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited Yeaman nine times for unregistered contracting and twice for not obtaining a permit before altering a manufactured home. State law requires contractors to register with L&I, which confirms they have a business license, liability insurance and a bond to provide some recourse for consumers if problems arise. It’s illegal to work, offer, subcontract, submit bids or advertise as a contractor without being registered.
L&I suspended his contractor registration in November 2012 for failing to pay his workers’ comp premiums. He now owes L&I nearly $180,000 for unpaid contracting and safety infractions and workers’ comp premiums and penalties. The department is continuing efforts to collect the debt.
For the current case, the judge required Yeaman to begin serving the jail time no later than Aug. 9. If Yeaman doesn’t comply with the sentence or commits a crime in the next two years, he could face up to 349 more days in jail.
This is the second time the Washington Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted Yeaman based on a L&I investigation into him and his company, Southgate Roofing, of Belfair, Wash.
Cashed Check for New Roofing Job on Same Day as Guilty Plea
In the current case, Yeaman was not registered as a contractor when he agreed to reroof a house in Grapeview, south of Bremerton, and cashed a $5,000 check for the job on Nov. 23, 2015.
That was the very same day that he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in an older case on one count of unregistered contracting and one felony count of doing business after his workers’ compensation coverage was revoked. The sentence required, in part, that he not work as an unregistered contractor for two years.
“It’s hard to believe the audacity of this defendant,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “This is an especially serious case of someone who knew he was breaking the law for a second time, and chose to rip off a customer.”
In the 2015 case, Yeaman accepted the $5,000 check, and told the homeowner that the job would cost an additional $1,379. He said he would start the roofing job as soon as the rain “let up,” charging papers said.
That was in early December. The rain let up and months passed. The homeowner kept contacting Yeaman, who said in May 2016 that it would be a few more weeks before he could start. The homeowner then contacted L&I.
In the previous criminal case, Yeaman’s company started a roofing job in May 2014, but the owner of that home learned he was unregistered and asked for his money back. Yeaman never repaid him, and the owner hired a registered contractor to finish the job, costing the consumer $4,500 more than anticipated.