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.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Mark Less/ KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero

Utah cattle ranchers losing calves to winter conditions

Many cattle ranchers have lost calves due to the deep snow and cold weather.
1 day ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Andrew Adams

Vintage motorcycle stolen, owner asks public for help to find it

A man was asking for help Wednesday to locate his stolen, fully-restored vintage motorcycle.
1 day ago
Exibit shows Utah's air was a concern as far back as the 1880s....
Jed Boal

Exhibit: Concerns about Utah’s air quality go back to Brigham Young

An online exhibit details Utah’s unique air pollution problem going back to the 1880s when Utahns referred to the winter pollution as “smoke evil” or the “smoke nuisance”. 
1 day ago
An empty donation table with the American Red Cross logo. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)...
Katija Stjepovic

Red Cross warns Utahns to be prepared for flooding, spring runoff. Here’s how.

The American Red Cross has a warning for Utahns this spring – prepare for the possibility of flooding in the coming months.
1 day ago
Bags of small pills are lined up....
Mike Anderson

Fentanyl use on the rise in Box Elder County

Police in Box Elder County say fentanyl is hitting their community hard as overdoses and deaths have gone up in recent months.
1 day ago
Driver killed...
Eliza Pace

Four injured in yurt explosion

Four people have been transported to the hospital following a yurt explosion in Deer Valley Wednesday afternoon.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Felony charges for contractor accused of ripping off several Utahns