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CSLB Press Release - 4/30/14

Lesson Not Learned for Repeat Offenders Caught in CSLB Sting Operations

Three of 13 persons cited for illegal contracting in Chino, Lake Elsinore cited previously, disregarded fines

SACRAMENTO — One of the goals of the undercover sting operations conducted by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is to convince those caught for illegal contracting that they’re far better off getting their license and working as a legitimate contractor.

But, as a pair of Inland Empire stings showed last week, that message just doesn’t sink in for some.

Of the 13 persons cited April 24 on illegal contracting charges at stings in Chino and Lake Elsinore, three were repeat offenders, including one who had a $5,000 warrant hanging over his head for failing to appear in court on a previous contracting violation. Seven suspects who came to the Chino sting were issued Notices To Appear (NTA) in San Bernardino Superior Court; six from the Lake Elsinore sting have Riverside County Superior Court dates.

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) held the operation at single-family homes in the Inland Empire cities that are about 40 miles apart. They were assisted in Chino by San Bernardino County District Attorney investigators, while Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators officers partnered in the Lake Elsinore operation.

CSLB investigators requested bids for painting, fencing, concrete, and tile work at the two locations, with the highest estimate coming in at $9,350 for a fence project. That far exceeds the legal limit in California, where 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.

The suspect with the $5,000 warrant, Lazaro A. Garcia, of Riverside, is a very familiar figure to CSLB investigators. An unlicensed painter who operates under the business name “Professional Home Repairs,” Garcia has been issued three previous NTAs for misdemeanor charges related to illegal contracting, and has been cited twice by CSLB on administrative violations.

Two other suspects also are repeat offenders. Narisco Arriage Pineda, of Moreno Valley, has been cited twice previously on CSLB administrative violations, and failed to pay related fines. Fae T. Folaumoetao, Fontana, has been cited two times under an alias, Sam Folau, for illegal contracting. He also disregarded his fines, CSLB records show.

Twelve of the 13 suspects, including the previous offenders, received misdemeanor citations for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code section 7028). 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.

In addition, 12 of the 13 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.

“We try to bring unlicensed contractors over to the legal side. We even give those caught in our stings an application to apply for a license,” CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said. “But we won’t tolerate these chronic offenders who think they can sidestep the law and endanger the public.”

Suspects caught in the Chino sting are scheduled for arraignment at 8 a.m. on June 19, 2014, in San Bernardino County Superior Court, 8303 Haven Ave., Rancho Cucamonga CA 951730 (Map). Those cited in Lake Elsinore are due to appear 8:30 a.m. June 26, 2014, in Riverside County Superior Court, 41002 County Center Drive #100, Temecula CA 92591 (Map).


CHINO SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATIONS

Judas Pedro Duarte
Montclair

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Fae T. Folaumoetao
Fontana

C8 - Concrete

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Displaying a license not issued to him

Roberto Ortega
Chino

C8 - Concrete

Contracting without a license

Roger Lee Wolfinbarger
Claremont

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Lazaro A. Garcia
Riverside

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Thomas Alan Johnson
Riverside

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Narisco Arriage Pineda
Moreno Valley

C54 - Ceramic and Mosaic Tile

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising


LAKE ELSINORE SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATIONS

Donald Harry Hudson
Perris

C33 - Painting

Acting in the capacity of a salesperson without registration,
Illegal advertising

David John Anaya Jr.
Rialto

C13 - Fencing

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Justin Gregory Thatcher
Hemet

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Herbert Bunch
Hesperia

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Michael Ray Sterns
Fontana

C33 - Painting

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Luis Manuel Zepeda Ruiz
Moreno Valley

C13 - Fencing

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

CSLB encourages consumers to always “Check The License First” by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov or calling CSLB’s toll-free automated line 800.321.CSLB (2752). Also, visit CSLB’s website for tips about how to hire a contractor and to sign up for CSLB Email Alerts.

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). 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 2012-13, CSLB helped recover nearly $44 million in ordered restitution for consumers.