Embattled Covington contractor in trouble with feds

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 3 at 12:03 PM

SEATTLE – A contractor accused of starting jobs and not finishing them in King County is now in hot water with the federal government.

John Mulinski of Covington is accused of doing the same in Montana and wiring the money back here. The eight count indictment alleges Mulinksi started jobs in Montana, never finished them and refused to complete the projects or provide refunds. He then allegedly took that cash and transferred it to financial institutions in Washington state.

Prosecutors say it's wire fraud that could send Mulinksi to prison for 20 years.

"You have some people come into town with a pickup and a cell phone and set up business and take advantage of people who are having home built or having roofs put on, and this individual was gaming the system from the get go," Montana Department of Labor Keith Kelly said.

Kelly hit Mulinski with a $40,000 fine for breaking state construction laws.

"An example needs to be made of the people who tip the law upside down for their own personal gain and advantage," he said.

The indictment says Mulinski started his Montana scheme in June 2010 and continued it while he was out on bond for felony theft in King County.

The Covington contractor also faces 13 counts of construction malfeasance in California.

The judge in the federal case released Mulinksi Monday.

Dewan Puri says he lost more than $50,000 last year when he hired Mulinski to build a restaurant in Bellevue. He just wishes the authorities could have stopped him before more people got hurt.

"They didn't do anything about that guy, about what he did to me and the other people in Washington state, in California and in Montana," Puri said.

Mulinksi has pleaded not guilty to the charges in King County, California and Montana.

The Internal Revenue Service could soon be on Mulinski's back, too. A court document shows Mulinski has admitted he hasn't filed any federal taxes since 2006.

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