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Unlicensed Contractor Now Faces Jail Time

Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2015-09-11 11:49:23-04

By Jennifer Kraus
Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An unlicensed contractor who NewsChannel5 Investigates first exposed several years ago is now looking at more than a year behind bars. Gary Carlton has been found guilty of working without a license; a crime that even the District Attorney admits normally doesn't lead to jail time.

In court on Monday, his victims said this case is different.

"I think something really needs to be done so you don't do this to another person again," said Lynn Salter.

His victims want more than justice, they want jail time for Gary Carlton. He is a long time contractor in Middle Tennessee with a history of run-ins with both the law and customers.

Two years ago, NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed how Carlton did business. He's been sued by dozens of unhappy customers, arrested repeatedly for working without a state contractor's license, and has ignored orders from the state to stop working.

Now, he has been found guilty in Davidson County criminal court of again working without a license, after he tried to get Salter to hire him to put a new roof on her house.

"Mr. Carlton, I really, really hate the fact that you used Christianity and I think you played that," Salter said in court.

Other victims also took the stand.

"He's not going to stop unless you put him in jail," Rhonda Sanders said.

His attorney though told the judge that Carlton's sorry, and insisted that probation would be the best punishment.

But the D.A. strongly disagreed.

Mr. Carlton has been on probation many times in both in Davidson County and in other counties for these type of offenses," said Assistant District Attorney Brian Ewald.

Ewald said Carlton continued to post ads on Craigslist even after being found guilty in this case.

"I don't see any other option to get through to Mr. Carlton that you cannot do this and if do this repeatedly, you will not get away with it," Ewald added.

Two years ago, the state fined Carlton $25,000 for working without a license. Carlton has still not paid that fine.

Judge Randall Wyatt said after Monday's hearing that he would make a decision on Carlton's sentence within a matter of weeks.

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