VISALIA – A Camarillo man was sentenced to five years in state prison on 26 felony counts of installing and maintaining faulty fire sprinklers in more than two dozen Tulare County businesses, Assistant District Attorney Shani Jenkins said Tuesday.
Danny Williams, 47, is the owner of the Camarillo-based American Fire Protection. He was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution by Tulare Superior Court Judge Brett Alldredge after a jury convicted him in February on multiple felony counts, as well as 26 misdemeanor counts of violating state Fire Marshal regulations, conspiracy, grand theft, and diversion of construction funds.
“Based on defendant Williams’ illegal and immoral conduct, he put the lives of many in danger,” Jenkins said. “Under the guise of a company whose purpose was to protect individuals from the danger of fires, the defendant embezzled thousands of dollars from trusting local businesses. The result of his actions put employees, patrons, and firefighters in serious danger in the event of an emergency.”
Although based in the Ventura County city of Camarillo, Williams and American Fire Protection did work in Tulare County. Williams was paid $82,000 from Svenhard’s Swedish Bakery in Exeter to repair its sprinkler system. However, Williams completed less than half of the contracted work, leaving the bakery with an impaired sprinkler system.
The jury also found that Williams took, damaged or destroyed about $65,000 worth of property while committing his crimes, Jenkins said.
In addition to Svenhard’s, 25 other Tulare County businesses were also victimized. For each of those businesses Williams was convicted of a felony violation for knowingly maintaining an impaired fire protection system.
Williams trained a Tulare County employee, Ken Speck, to service fire suppression systems in a way which was unlawful and which also resulted in leaving businesses with impaired fire suppression systems.
Speck pled guilty to five felonies and two misdemeanors on June 22, 2010. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25.
A restitution hearing is set for Aug. 3 to determine the amount of money Williams must pay those who were victimized, Jenkins said.