CSLB Sting Nabs Unlicensed Contractors For Deck Repairs

CSLB Press Release – 2/27/14

Ragtag Assortment of Suspects Arrested in Pioneer CSLB Undercover Sting

Six cited include registered sex offender and two repeat offenders

SACRAMENTO — A half-dozen men illegally operating as contractors were cited during an undercover sting operation conducted in Pioneer on February 25, 2014, by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) with assistance from Amador County District Attorney investigators, and the Department of Insurance.

During the eight-hour sting, officers held one suspect at gunpoint after he refused to cooperate, ran from investigators, locked himself in his vehicle, and made threatening movements. Another suspect was found to be on probation for making terrorists threats, while still another suspect was found to have prior criminal history as a sex offender. Two suspects had been arrested in previous CSLB stings.

“Inviting an unlicensed contractor into your home is like playing with a stick of dynamite, definitely not worth the risk,” CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said. “You always should check CSLB’s website to see if the person bidding on your job has an active contractor license that is in good standing.”

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) held the operation at a single-family home in the Gold Country town of Pioneer, along Highway 88. Investigators requested bids for deck repair, landscaping, and exterior painting. High bids received during the sting were $6,000 for deck repair, and a $4,200 bid for exterior paint. Suspected unlicensed operators were found advertising on flyers, newspapers, and online bulletin boards, including craigslist.org.

All six suspects received misdemeanor citations for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code section 7028). In California, all home improvement jobs valued at $500 or more (combined labor and material costs) must be conducted by a company or person with a CSLB-issued license. First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Penalties escalate with successive violations.

Four suspects were cited on a misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise for jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor.

Suspects receiving notices to appear (NTAs) are scheduled for arraignment at 8:00 a.m. on April 7, 2014, in Amador County Superior Court, 500 Argonaut Lane, Jackson CA 95642 (Map).

Bill Leys-The Deck Expert

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