Fire-equipment seller convicted

Fire-equipment seller convicted in Tulare County
Defendant found guilty on 30 felony charges; defense says appeal is likely to happen

9:00 PM, Feb. 23, 2011

The man authorities say sold faulty fire-suppression equipment and impersonated fire marshals was convicted Wednesday in Tulare County Superior Court on 30 felony counts. ÔªøDanny Williams, owner of American Fire Protection, and employee Ken Speck were indicted June 4, 2009, by a Tulare County Grand Jury. They were indicted on 34 felony counts of maintaining an impaired fire protection system, theft, diversion of construction funds and conspiracy; and 78 misdemeanor counts of theft and violations of the Fire Code.

Speck pleaded to five felonies and two misdemeanor charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 21.ÔªøWilliams, whose business was based in Southern California, was not offered a plea deal.

Williams' defense attorney, Carl Faller, says he and his client are disappointed with the verdict but say issues that rose during the trial may lead to an appeal. The lawyer plans on requesting a new trial.

"We are very disappointed, but this is how our system works. The jury speaks and then we move to the next step," Faller said.

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced April 27 in Tulare County Superior Court. He is facing up to 30 years in state prison for the felony convictions.

The indictments followed complaints against the company, including reports that representatives:

> Wore uniforms with patches similar to those worn by fire department staff.

> Claimed that they were fire marshals authorized to close businesses if not allowed to perform an inspection.

> Claimed that they were visiting businesses to service fire extinguishers.

> Performed substandard and non-code-compliant work.

Each of the allegations is considered violations of the California Fire Code.
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