Contractor Sentenced to Nearly Five Years in Prison

By Beacon Staff

John Mulinski, a contractor accused of swindling homeowners and former employees in multiple states including Montana, has been sentenced to 57 months in prison and $138,000 in restitution for wire fraud.

Mulinski, a 50-year-old resident of Covington, Wash., appeared in U.S. District Court in Missoula on May 21 for his sentencing, which also includes three years of supervised release. He was found guilty of three felony counts of wire fraud in December.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, “truth in sentencing” guidelines mandate that Mulinski will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the district of Montana. He has the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction of no greater than 15 percent of his overall sentence for good behavior.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case. The U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation.

The Beacon first reported on complaints of misconduct against Mulinski in November 2010. Mulinski was accused of bilking both homeowners and employees, often leaving projects unfinished – including homes without roofs in the middle of winter – after taking money upfront.

The complaints prompted an investigation by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, which issued a $40,000 fine, the largest fine the state has ever imposed on a contractor for violating contractor registration laws.

In the U.S. District Court trial, employees, homeowners and advertisers from around the state – including the Flathead Valley – said Mulinski defrauded them. According to news reports, Mulinski has had similar charges against him in California and Washington, including at least 15 felonies in Washington.

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