Felony charges for contractor accused of ripping off several Utahns

Feb 2, 2023, 1:57 PM | Updated: 2:02 pm

KEARNS, Utah — Landscaping work: paid for, but not completed.

Jessy Nguyen told KSL Investigators a man named Ofa showed up at his mom’s house last June, offering to do some work. His mom hired Ofa to pour concrete, put in a fence, and do some landscaping work, paying more than $40,000.

“He did the work, like he started,” said Nguyen, “but as soon as he got the money, he stopped.”

Nguyen said both he and his mom tried to reach Ofa multiple times to get the job finished, without success.

“He’ll give you a sob story of why he can’t come, and then he just stops answering your calls,” said Nguyen.

Eventually, Nguyen went to West Jordan Police. As he dug into Ofa and his company, Noah Concrete, he found he wasn’t alone in his frustrations.

“The funny thing is, I Googled this guy, and he’s had like five or six different business names,” he said.

KSL Investigators found it wasn’t just different business names, but Ofa goes by several names himself, including Feofaaki Ahoafi, Tevita Ahoafinoa, and David. He opened multiple businesses, including TLT Construction, Tevita Concrete and Landscaping, and Dateline Construction.

According to records we obtained, Ofa has been cited seven times since 2014 for engaging in construction trades without a license.

Despite citation after citation, Ofa continued to work without a license, breaking state rules. The citations add up to $9,000, all of which are unpaid.

“That tells us a story that they just don’t care,” said Mark Steinagel, director of Utah’s Department of Professional and Occupational Licensing.

His office has heard from so many victims who have lost thousands of dollars, they’ve referred the matter to criminal prosecutors.

“I definitely think law enforcement and prosecutors should take a look at whether the harm and fraud he’s perpetuated deserve severe penalties,” said Steinagel.

Criminal penalties have been assessed. KSL Investigators combed through court records, searching Ofa’s aliases and company names, and found his activity goes all the way back to 2011.

He has been charged with misdemeanors for engaging in a construction trade without a license five times. The most recent charge was settled in November with a plea in abeyance, for which he must complete a thinking errors class and be on probation for a year.

More serious punishment may be coming.

During the course of our investigation, two additional cases against Ofa were filed, both carrying felony charges of theft by deception.

One of those cases involves the Nguyen job. Because of the amount of money Ofa is alleged to have taken without finishing the work, the penalty could mean up to 15 years in jail.

KSL Investigators reached out to Ofa multiple times on different phone numbers without a response.

After finding an address listed on the most recent lawsuit against him, we stopped by his home. While Ofa was not there, a man driving by saw our cameras and stopped. He was able to get Ofa on the phone for us.

When asked about the Nguyen job, he said, “Oh yeah, the only thing that I can think is that it’s been snowing, that’s the only thing that’s holding me up.”

When we pressed him about some of the complaints against him going back years, and that Nguyen’s job was abandoned last summer, long before it snowed, he responded, “That job, I’m still working on it. I got the fence and all that, but I’m not done. You know, the snow came down and then I’m going to complete. I’ve got the fence and the rest of the material.”

When asked about his multiple convictions of contracting without a license, he said he needs to work.

“Like I said, what I rather do? I cannot feed my family. I have six kids, and the only way I can do it is going out and trying to get some work,” Ofa said.

As for Nguyen, he thinks Ofa needs to be stopped before he financially hurts anyone else.

“I think the part that makes me so mad, and the reason we reached out to you guys, is that clearly he’s doing this to other people,” said Nguyen.

Ofa is due in court on February 10, and KSL Investigators plan to follow this story.

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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Felony charges for contractor accused of ripping off several Utahns