Something Fishy Here

Take a look at the following story, for me it just doesn’t pass the smell test.

I am not sure, but I honestly believe there is more to this than what’s here, and that part of the story is missing.

The mentioning(twice) of the Cherry tree also seems suspicious we’ve planted quite a few trees over the years that were more than $3,500, why is this tree being singled out? Heck maybe it is a 1 inch caliper tree(that would be overcharging for sure). Maybe it’s 6″ or 7″ caliper?

If anyone out there knows anything else about this story I’d appreciate hearing from you.


This is the 1st time I had ever heard of a Landscape Contractor being jailed for “over-charging”. If any of you know of this happening in your part of the World I’d like to hear about it.


Landscaper jailed for exorbitant prices
March 04, 2010, 03:55 AM By Michelle Durand
A landscaper who left an elderly Hillsborough man with a $70,000 bill to fix $120,000 of shoddy work and inflated costs including a $3,500 cherry tree was sentenced Wednesday to 20 days in jail.

Edilberto Heredia, 40, must also spend three years on supervised probation and pay restitution in an amount to be determined at an April 19 hearing. The sentence is 100 days less than the maximum Heredia faced when he pleaded no contest Dec. 2 to misdemeanor contracting without a license.

The term is “reasonable,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

In return for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges against his wife, Maria Heredia, who ran a nursery supplying the plants used in the man’s landscaping.

In July 2008, Heredia worked for the victim’s neighbor and was asked to do some minor landscaping. Heredia did the work but authorities alleged he pushed the man into more projects and took an excessive down payment followed by the hefty cost of the labor and plants. Heredia charged the man $120,000 but an expert from the state Contractors Board later concluded the work was only worth $84,000.

Even worse, according to authorities, is that the man will spend another $70,000 to repair the lackluster work. The $13,000 price tag for plants and labor included a single cherry tree sold for $3,650.

Heredia has been out of custody on his own recognizance.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. He is jailed for ‘Contracting Without a Licence’ – irrelevant that he is a Landscaper, he could have been a Builder and got the same sentence. Also, courts and the community are pretty tough on people who prey on the elderly. Simon

  2. Mr Rick —You assumed there was more to the story–you’re correct. Edilberto Heredia had other active high ticket ‘illegal contract’ jobs in the same area going on simultaneously. The State Contract Licensing Board (CA) with help from the victim’s family and local police provided info that allowed for the other jobs to be shut down. Heredia was preying on numerous elderly people in the immediate area and funneled the payments and plant materials through his wife’s retail shop. His wife Maria was initially charged but later exempted from prosecution due to a ‘no contest’ plea bargain deal. Since May 19, 2010 Heredia is serving 3 years supervised criminal probabtion and was sentenced to pay $114,806 in restitution over this period. To-date (Aug ’10) 0nly 2 payments of $500 each have been paid to the victim – and – Heredia is still out there living in his own home, running a large mow & blow operation, driving a Hummer and other vehicles while the 87 year old victim cannot make any meaningful repairs to his lanscape mess and he’s not getting any younger. You do the math — at this rate the victim will likely never be able to enjoy his landscaping and the criminal is still out & about….and yes, the cherry tree was essentially a sapling and grossly overpriced–now you know.

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