This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
RIVERTON — A contractor was ordered to serve up to 15 years in prison for promising kitchen cabinets and collecting pre-payments on orders, but never following through with any of the work.
Steven Jay Sizemore, 31, pleaded guilty this week to five counts of communications fraud, three second-degree felonies and two third-degree felonies. He was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of one to 15 years for the second-degree felonies and zero to five years for the others
But since his arrest in June of last year, investigators discovered that Sizemore, who was free on bail, was still accepting money from at least seven victims and continuing his scam as late as this past May.
The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing counted 21 victims frauded out of $117,000 by Sizemore over three years starting in 2009, according to the Utah Attorney General's Office. Some families went without functioning kitchens for months and at least one family was forced to wash dishes in their bathtub.
The Woodman family was forced to use a bathtub for the last five months to wash their dishes, after Sizemore took nearly $7,000 and never finished their kitchen cabinets.
"Our oldest is 5 years old, so you can imagine — with small children at home and how much they eat and how many dishes they create and things like that — how difficult it really was," Mic Woodman said.
The Utah Department of Commerce has identified 21 victims. Sizemore is being ordered to pay $117,000 in restitution.
"When it came down to the day that the cabinets were going to be installed, he never showed," said Francine Giani, executive director of the department. "He didn't answer his phone."
Another of Sizemore's victims, Allison Hansen, said her kitchen remained intact, but she lost $5,200 to the man.
"He was a really great guy, until he got our money, and then he just vanished," Hansen said.
The victims are chalking it up as a learning experience. They're not expecting to see their money back, though they'd like it, so they see this story as a cautionary tale to others.
"Check references, check online and be really careful who you invite to do work in your home," Hansen said.
Sizemore, who was not a licensed contractor, advertised under his name and Backwoods Cabinetry on KSL.com and BuildWatch.com. During the time he was allegedly selling cabinets, he had filed for bankruptcy, the commerce department stated.
Sizemore was also ordered to pay restitution. He paid $5,000 at his sentencing hearing, court records indicate.