Santa Rosa, CA – January 31, 2019 – Defendant
William Edward Hail III, 44 years old of Petaluma, was sentenced today by the
Honorable Christopher Honigsberg to serve six years in state prison after
having been found guilty last month by a jury of committing five felony counts
of theft from two elderly victims. The charges included one count of theft from
an elder, two counts of diversion of construction funds, and one count of
Attorney Ravitch stated, “We are in agreement with the sentence imposed by the
court. The defendant’s actions were committed over a lengthy period of time and
had a significant negative impact on his victims. Once again, we encourage
anyone who suspects that an elderly family member or friend may be being taken
advantage of to contact law enforcement immediately.”
resulted from an initial report made to the Petaluma Police Department in the
spring of 2016 where the victims’ family members reported their concern that
Hail was taking financial advantage of an elderly relative. The investigation
revealed that in 2012, Hail, a licensed plumber, contracted with an 82-year-old
man for the installation of solar panels and a wind turbine at his Petaluma
residence. The investigation further revealed that Hail contracted with an 83-year-old woman, an acquaintance of the first victim, for similar work.
into multiple subsequent contracts with each victim for additional work. In the
end, each victim had paid Hail in excess of $325,000. Also, in each case the
victims had paid the full contract price before any work was completed.
According to an industry expert at trial, the value of the work actually
completed at one residence was $41,000, and $88,000 at the other. A forensic
accounting was done on Hail’s bank accounts which revealed he was depositing
the money into personal accounts and spending it on vacations, restoration of
classic automobiles, entertainment, and other similar items.
The case was
prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Carla Rodriguez, assisted by District
Attorney Investigator Matthew Stapleton. Officer Tamara Gilman of the Petaluma
Police Department headed the investigation along with Contractor’s State
Licensing Board Investigator Caleb Cameron.