An unlicensed Glen Burnie home-improvement contractor was sentenced yesterday to 8 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution for work he left unfinished.
But Circuit Judge Warren B. Duckett said he would suspend the sentence in favor of five years' house arrest when the man proves he has found a job.
Stanley L. Mell Sr., 44, whose company was known as Architectural Designs, also faces charges of operating without a home-improvement license in Baltimore, Howard, Prince George's and Harford counties. He is being held at the Harford County Detention Center pending trial.
Duckett sentenced Mell yesterday on 12 counts of operating without a license in Anne Arundel County. Mell pleaded guilty to the charges in September.
Mell's attorney, T. Joseph Touhey Jr., said his client had worked as a project manager for large construction companies out of state and after arriving set up a "legitimate," though unlicensed, business.
He said state licensing officials began investigating Mell after he placed advertisements. He said Mell, in an attempt to stay in business, would take jobs -- only to be arrested for operating without a license before he could finish the work.
Mell was ordered to pay restitution ranging from $775 to $30,705 to homeowners in Glen Burnie, Gambrills, Pasadena, Severna Park and Severn.
Duckett also ordered him to pay $2,000 to cover a court-ordered audit of the home improvement contracts by retired District Court Judge Arthur Anderson.
Touhey said Mell has an opportunity to work as a construction project manager.
Under house arrest, Mell will be allowed out of his home only to work, but Duckett told Mell he was not to feel unduly restricted to working only daytime hours. He told Mell he was free to work overtime if he could.
The judge said: "Quite frankly, I want you to work your ass off to pay these people back."