CSLB Press Release: CSLB Fresno Sting Sends 21 to Court for Ripping Off Consumers

www.cslb.ca.gov     |     CheckTheLicenseFirst.com     |     SeniorScamStopper.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  January 18, 2012

CSLB #12-01
CSLB Media Contacts

Rick Lopes
Chief of Public Affairs
916.947.8828
rlopes@cslb.ca.gov  

Melanie Bedwell
Public Information Officer
916.255.4717
mbedwell@cslb.ca.gov

Venus Stromberg
Public Information Officer
Spanish Language Media
916.860.9431
vstromberg@cslb.ca.gov

 

 

CSLB Fresno Sting Sends 21 to Court for Ripping Off Consumers
Unlicensed, uninsured construction activity targeted during two-day undercover operation

 

SACRAMENTO – Most of the 21 individuals caught by the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) during an undercover sting operation at a Fresno County home near Fig Garden on January 11 and 12, 2012, were found to be illegally charging excessive up-front payments. The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, Employment Development Department, California Highway Patrol, and the Fresno Police Special Investigations Bureau assisted in the two-day operation.

Tips from the Central California Better Business Bureau, as well as suspected illegal print and online advertisements, helped identify the illegal operators. Investigators posed as homeowners, and contacted the suspected non-licensees, seeking bids for plumbing, painting, tree trimming, fencing, landscaping, and general construction projects. The 21 suspects who bid more than $500 for labor and materials received notices to appear in court for contracting without a license, in violation of California Business and Professions (B&P) Code section 7028. Contractors are also required to place their state contractor license number in all advertisements, under B&P Code section 7027.1.

Sixteen individuals solicited more than the legal down payment amount (10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less) and will face additional charges for violating B&P Code section 7159.5 (a)(3)(b). The district attorney will also charge five of the sting suspects for failure to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees, in violation of Labor Code section 3700.5.

Two suspects are not strangers to CSLB. Hilario Ortiz, 52, of Larry’s Flooring and Home Repair in Fresno, said he was “through.” Ortiz was caught in two CSLB stings in 2010. James Lawrence Campbell, 40, of Fresno, had an outstanding warrant for not showing up for sentencing after entering a plea of contracting without a license and illegal advertising in a prior case. Unlicensed fencing contractor Martin Mendoza, 35, of Fresno, is a registered sex offender. Since 2005, state law has required that those applying for new licenses or an additional license classification must submit fingerprints for a Department of Justice background check.

“Before looking for a home improvement contractor, consumers should review CSLB’s easy-to-read 10 Tips to Making Sure Your Contractor Measures Up flyer, which is available in English, Spanish, and several other languages on our website,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “The next step should be to check the license online or through our toll-free number to be sure the contractor meets state standards in the appropriate trade, follows state laws, and has workers’ compensation coverage for employees. The last thing a homeowner wants is to be financially responsible for a contractor’s employee who is hurt while working on their property because the employer didn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance.”

The following suspects, cited the first day of CSLB’s operation, are scheduled for arraignment on February 28, 2012, in Fresno County Superior Court, 1100 Van Ness Avenue:

DAY 1:

SUSPECT’S NAME, BUSINESS, AND CITY

AGE

WORK

CLASS

VIOLATIONS

 

Alvaro DeZubiria, Jr.

Mainstream Plumbing

Fresno

58

Plumbing

 

Use of a license number not issued to the individual, contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

Manuel Madera

Fresno

43

Painting

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

James Lawrence Campbell

Fresno

41

Painting

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

*Warrant on prior CSLB case

Willie Ed Johnson, Jr.

Fresno

51

General Construction

Contracting without a license, soliciting excessive down payment

Johnny Griego Garcia

Fresno

63

Tree Services

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

Johnny Guerrero Garcia, Jr.

Fresno

43

Tree Services

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment, no workers’ comp

Redwine Thornten Carroll,II

R.T.C.2

Clovis

51

General Construction

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

 

Martin Mendoza

Mendoza Fencing

Fresno

35

Fencing

Contracting without a license, no workers’ comp

*Registered sex offender

 

Luis Luz-Gonzales

Fresno

27

 

Painting

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment, no workers’ comp

Juventino Espinoza

Cutler

43

Landscaping

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

Anthony Michael Romero

Kingsburg

32

Concrete

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

 

Individuals cited the second day of CSLB’s operation are scheduled for arraignment on March 6 and 13, 2012, in Fresno County Superior Court, 1100 Van Ness Avenue:

DAY 2:

SUSPECT’S NAME, BUSINESS, AND

CITY

AGE

WORK

CLASS

VIOLATIONS

 

Antonio Arnaldo Lemus

Custom Painting

Fresno

47

 

Painting

 

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment, no workers’ comp

Brian Karl Craighead

Home Projects and Repair

Auberry

36

General Construction

 

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

Gilbert Joseph Bustos

Handy Man Services

Fresno

60

Painting

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment, no workers’ comp

Matthew Wayne Leazer

Fresno

48

 

General Construction

Contracting without a license, soliciting excessive down payment

 

Ricardo Guizar-Reyes

Fresno

36

Plumbing

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

Hilario Ortiz

Larry’s Flooring & Home Repair

Fresno

52

General Construction

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

 

Travis David Hensley

Fresno

22

Tree Services

Contracting without a license

 

Donato Joaquin Canzio

Fresno

28

General Construction

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

Sergio Abel Cuevas

Fresno

26

Painting

Contracting without a license

 

Jose Francisco Perez

Fresno

23

Painting

Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment

 

CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips before hiring anyone to work on their home:

·                     Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see their license and a photo ID to verify their identity. 

·                     Always check the license number on CSLB’s website at www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com to make sure the license is in good standing.     

·                     Don’t pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment. There is an exception for about two dozen licensees who carry special bonds to protect consumers. These exceptions are noted on CSLB’s website.

·                     Don’t pay in cash, and don’t let payments get ahead of the work.

·                     Get at least three bids, check references, and get a written contract.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.  More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB email alerts. CSLB licenses and regulates California's 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2010-11, CSLB helped recover nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

# # #

 

 

 
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Copyright © 2012

 

 

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