Men Who Scammed CSLB Applicants, Licensees Sentenced to Jail
Two men plead guilty to conspiracy, ordered to pay victim restitution
SACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) announces that a second man has been sentenced to jail after scamming licensed California contractors and those attempting to become licensed.
Maico Merdinand Dilma, believed to be residing in Mexico, pleaded guilty on February 18, 2014, in Sacramento County Superior Court to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to cheat/defraud another person of property (Penal Code §182(a)(4)). He received 120 days in jail, three years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Dilma was arrested in December 2013 following a multi-faceted investigation that began in the summer of 2012 when a number of license applicants told investigators they were conned by people falsely representing themselves as CSLB employees. Applicants were told they needed to purchase examination study guides, while licensees seeking an additional trade classification were told they needed continuing education credits or licensing exams, and needed to pay with a credit card over the telephone.
Luis Manuel Flores, of San Diego, was arrested in February 2013 while entering the United States at the California-Mexico border. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of PC §182(a)(4) and was ordered to 180 days in jail and five years of probation.
Investigators determined that Flores and Dimla created a fraudulent business and website with names similar to CSLB. While in the Tijuana area, the two contacted CSLB applicants and licensees with phone numbers that appeared to victims as originating from the 916 area code (Sacramento area). At least 50 people were defrauded, in amounts ranging from $98 to $250 each. The number of victims may increase once people realize they were conned.
Our consumer protection efforts go beyond those who hire contractors, said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. We take very seriously any attempt to con or take advantage of our licensees or those who apply for a contractor license.
CSLB issued an industry bulletin and a prominent alert on the CSLB website to warn contractors and applicants about people claiming to be from CSLB and asking for credit card information over the phone. They also were reminded that CSLB fees only are payable through the mail or at CSLB Headquarters in Sacramento. The warnings dramatically cut the number of people being victimized.
The Contractors State License Board licenses and regulates California's 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. It operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. In fiscal year 2012-13, CSLB helped recover nearly $44 million in ordered restitution for consumers. Information about hiring contractors is available on CSLBs website or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752). You also can sign up for CSLB email alerts.
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