News Release

Lynnwood man charged with three counts of unregistered contracting

August 06, 2020
#20-028

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — A Lynnwood contractor caught working on a construction job without a license faces criminal charges of unregistered contracting.

Max Guillermo Ciraiz Merida, 48, recently pleaded not guilty in Snohomish County District Court to three counts of unregistered contracting. His trial is scheduled for Oct. 7.

State law requires construction contractors to register with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). The department confirms that contractors have a business license, liability insurance, and bond — requirements that provide some recourse if things go wrong with a project.

An L&I construction compliance inspector checking construction sites discovered Ciraiz Merida at an active job site in Edmonds, according to court papers. He was doing business as Max & Sons Construction, based in Lynnwood.

“This case is a reminder that our compliance inspectors are out there in the community checking construction sites,” said Chris Bowe, assistant director in charge of L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division. “They’re making sure contractors are registered and that plumbers and electricians are licensed. There are consequences for those who aren’t.

“We’re doing this to protect consumers and legitimate contractors who are following the rules.”

L&I’s Protect My Home website offers hiring tips and helps consumers check whether contractors are registered.

The Washington Attorney General is prosecuting the case based on an L&I investigation.

Claims to be registered contractor
Ciraiz Merida registered with L&I as a general contractor in November 2012. His registration was suspended in July 2013 for lack of insurance, and never renewed.

L&I began investigating Ciraiz Merida after the inspector, who was randomly checking construction sites, caught him and several employees remodeling a house in Edmonds in March 2018, according to charging papers.

A developer who hired Ciraiz Merida for that project later told an L&I investigator that he thought the contractor was registered based on paperwork he provided.

The developer presented bids and invoices, ranging from $16,000 to $28,000, that Max & Sons Construction submitted for three remodeling jobs in Edmonds and Everett in 2017 and 2018, charging papers said.

A history with L&I
This isn’t Ciraiz Merida’s first brush with L&I.

In 2014, after a general contractor listed Max & Sons as a subcontractor, L&I conducted a workers’ compensation insurance audit of the company. The audit determined Ciraiz Merida was working as a contractor with two workers, yet he had no contractor registration.

In 2007, L&I cited Ciraiz for unregistered contracting when he was doing business as Ciraiz’s Construction. He was accused of accepting a $5,000 down payment for a drainage job from a Renton homeowner, but doing no work. His $1,000 L&I fine was paid, and the case was closed.

L&I can issue unregistered contractors a civil infraction, refer them for criminal prosecution, or both.

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For media information:

Debby Abe, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6043.

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