Unlicensed contractor pleads guilty to defrauding Camp Fire survivor, faces three years

A Paradise man pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony fraud after claiming to be a licensed contractor and entering into a $20,000 agreement to rebuild a Camp Fire survivor’s cottage, the Butte County District Attorney’s Office said.

The victim hired Kristofer Chivrell, 37, and paid him a $5,000 advance on a $20,000 contract to restore a small cottage behind his home. Chivrell had told the man that he was a licensed contractor. According to a news release, the homeowner learned later that Chivrell did not have the skills or tools to complete the project.

Chivrell was arrested by Paradise police on Sept. 15 after evidence gathered by police showed that he had been performing contracting work without a license. According to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, Chivrell may face up to three years in prison.

Chivrell was released on his own recognizance pending a Dec. 4 sentencing hearing.

Contracting without a license is typically a misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to felonies in a declared disaster area, Ramsey said. The DA’s office encouraged Camp Fire survivors to verify contractors with the California State Licensing Board. Those who believe they may have been defrauded can contact Consumer Protection Division at 866-323-7283.

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Mitchel Bobo covers breaking news for The Bee and is a journalism student at Sacramento State. He was born on Travis Air Force Base and raised in Vacaville.