ST. GEORGE — A local man with a criminal history of fraud and forgery dating back more than a decade was arrested again on Friday. This time for reportedly using someone else’s contractor’s license to run a business in Washington County.

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The suspect, 67-year-old Christopher Wayne Edwards, of St. George, was arrested and booked into jail facing multiple forgery and identification theft charges.

The investigation opened last week when officers were following up on a report alleging that an individual was using someone else’s contractor license without their consent.

According to the report, officers learned the complainant became suspicious while working at a job site and noticed the sign posted in front of the site listed the company as “AEA Builders.” Upon running the name through the Department of Occupational Licensing, the complainant said they found there was no company licensed under that name, according to court documents filed supporting the arrest. 

The complainant’s suspicions that Edwards was using his contractor’s license under the fictitious business name were later confirmed when the owner received a bill from the city totaling more than $5,000, according to the report.

Detectives reached out to investigators with the Department of Occupational Licensing who forwarded the online application Edwards reportedly completed. The business information contained in the application matched the victim’s and the signature on the application appeared to be a forgery, according to the report.

Upon further investigation, detectives also found that Edwards had “an extensive history of fraud, forgery, and business licensing issues.”

 On Friday, officers went to the suspect’s home to speak with him. After answering the front door, Edwards allegedly asked officers if he was under arrest. When officers confirmed that he was being placed under arrest, the suspect “retreated into his residence, slammed the front door, investigators noted in the report.

Later, when officers called Edwards to advise him that they had a search warrant for the residence, the suspect walked out of the home and was taken into custody by police without further incident.

Criminal history dating to 2008

The suspect’s extensive criminal history indicated in the report goes back decades, including a federal case filed in 2008 wherein Edwards was indicted and subsequently convicted of wire fraud. In that case, federal investigators determined that Edwards devised a scheme that defrauded a victim out of more than $150,000.

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The case moved through the federal system for the next five years. In 2013, Edwards was sentenced to serve 15 months in a federal prison facility in Englewood, Colorado. He was also ordered to pay more than $154,000 in restitution to the victim in the case.

Five years later — in 2018 — Edwards was charged with one felony count of forgery that was later reduced to a misdemeanor during sentencing the following year. In that case, Edwards, who was involved in the sale of a home in Hurricane, admittedly provided a certificate of occupancy to the home buyer that turned out to be a forgery. He was ultimately ordered to pay a fine and to write a letter of apology to the city of Hurricane.

2022 allegations of fraud

In November 2022, an investigation opened that implicated Edwards obtained a fraudulent business license.

In that case, a code enforcement officer reported that Edwards had allegedly applied for a business license using a document issued by the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code that had the owner’s signature that appeared to have been forged.

The code enforcement officer determined that Edwards was reportedly attempting to get a business license under the name of a company that was already in business and owned by someone else, the report states. The application also caught the attention of an investigator who was aware that Edwards was prohibited from obtaining a contractor’s license for any business he was associated with after his previous license had been revoked.

While applying for the licensing, investigators allege that Edwards listed the business address in St. George, but corporate records indicated the business was owned and operated by a company out of Provo. Detectives also learned his signature appeared to be forged.

They also noticed that part of the company’s legitimate information was still listed on the document, as if someone failed to completely erase the information before altering the document, investigators noted.

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When contacted, the legal owner reportedly said he was the sole owner of the business and was unaware that anyone was attempting to apply for a business license in St. George. He also told investigators there were no other registered agents or employees who were authorized to operate or sign for the company.

Upon further investigation, detectives determined that Edwards had used the name of another business he did not have permission to use to apply for the licensing to enable him to run a contracting business. A second suspect, a reported family member of Edwards, was identified in the case and also charged.

After several attempts to meet with Edwards were unsuccessful, on April 20, 2023, a warrant was issued for his arrest and  Edwards was later charged with three third-degree felony charges, including forgery, identity fraud and recording false-forged documents.

That case is still pending in the courts and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled to take place March 7.

Case filed in July 2023

In another case filed three months later, on July 14, 2023, Edwards was charged with a second-degree felony count of issuing a bad check.

The investigation opened after a building supply company in St. George reported that Edwards had purchased supplies for a building project from the company, and once the construction project was completed in February, Edwards paid the invoices with five checks, four of which bounced, leaving the company with a loss of more than $9,600.

When the supply company reached out to Edward’s bank to see if they could get a cashier’s check to cover the losses, they reportedly found he had only $7 in his account. The complainant told police that multiple attempts to contact Edwards went unanswered over the next several months, so by July, they decided to report the incident to authorities.

2020 stock image of Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 21, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

That case also is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 7.

Following Friday’s arrest, Edwards was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing multiple charges, including one second-degree felony count of identity theft, as well as third-degree felony forgery. He also faces one misdemeanor count of interfering with an arrest.  The case was then forwarded to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

Bail was set at $5,000 and Edwards was released later that same evening after posting a bond.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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