Excerpted from an NBC Boston 10 story by Ryan Kath
Proposed legislation that would require background checks of contractors who register in Massachusetts and would provide more money for consumers who get ripped off was introduced on Beacon Hill.
The bill, filed by Democratic State Sen. Susan Moran, came in response to an investigative series on an NBC 10 Boston news program.
The bill was presented during a hearing for the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. According to the bill, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation would be required to perform background checks when contractors register or renew, specifically looking for fraud-related convictions.
That type of review likely would have flagged the owner of a pool company who left an alleged path of destruction across Massachusetts.
The news investigation found Steve Docchio had a long list of criminal convictions and charges related to failed construction projects. He had already been banned as a contractor in Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to records.
Docchio is now facing a 17-count indictment in Plymouth County and there is a warrant for his arrest. He has yet to be located by law enforcement and has not been arraigned on those charges.
“If this information is not verified with a background check, it means that bad actors can sometimes slip through the cracks and be registered with the state,” Moran said during her testimony. “In the extreme case of Steve Docchio, documented by NBC10’s ‘To Catch a Contractor’ series, this resulted in homeowners losing tens of thousands of dollars.”
The legislation would also raise the payout limit of the Guaranty Fund, a state program meant to help consumers recoup losses, from $10,000 up to $30,000.
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