Kent contractor facing criminal charges for landscaping scheme

A Kent man faces criminal charges in a scheme that left consumers with unfinished and botched landscaping projects despite paying thousands of dollars, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries reports.

Honorio Mendez-Ortega, 42, faces four counts of performing or offering to perform work as a construction contractor without being registered by the state.

Mendez-Ortega has pleaded not guilty to the charges in King County District Court. He goes by multiple aliases, including Honorio “Orio” Mendez, Antonio Mendez, Honorio Mendez Ortega, and Honorio Ortega Mendez.

The King County Prosecutor filed the charges based on contractor compliance investigations by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Unregistered contracting is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and $5,000 fine.

“It’s horrible when someone uses elaborate lies and deception to fool consumers,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director for L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “But we see it all too often. Even if a friend or a home referral service recommends a contractor, you still need to do your homework and check with us for tips.”

Consumers should always hire contractors registered with L&I, and never pay in full until the job is done right.