State Contractors Board Arrests Unlicensed Landscaper After Complaints from Multiple Victims Including Elderly
State Contractors Board Looks for More Victims
SACRAMENTO — A man suspected of ripping off at least six Sacramento area victims, including an elderly Elk Grove couple, is behind bars following action by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Sangato Mahei Telai was arrested at his home in Stockton today (Wednesday). Mr. Telai is an unlicensed landscape contractor with addresses in Stockton and East Palo Alto and operated under the names "Windy Concrete and Landscaping" and "Quality Concrete." He was reportedly handing out business cards with a contractor's license number belonging to someone else on it. (It is a felony to use another person's license.)
Contractors Board Investigators were looking into a complaint about Mr. Telai taking advantage of the elderly couple, when they found out he was also wanted on a "no bail" bench warrant out of San Mateo County where he faces additional charges for probation violations. The case has been turned over to the Sacramento County District Attorney's office for possible criminal charges. Mr. Telai is being held without bail.
The victims say they paid anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000, for incomplete jobs, shoddy workmanship and projects that were not done as promised. The victims say they were also ordered around and told to provide lunch, beer, and go to the bank to get cash for him. Victims may know Mr. Telai by other aliases he used, including Sangato Taliauli or "Sam."
The investigation is continuing. The Contractors Board believes there could be more victims out there. Those individuals are urged to contact the board either by calling the number below, or downloading a complaint form at the Board's website.
Consumers can verify a contractor's license status 24 hours a day using the CSLB's website at www.cslb.ca.gov or toll-free automated telephone system at (800) 321-CSLB (2752). They can also report contractors or unlicensed activity to the Board by phone or on the Web.
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with a contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license
- Don't hire the first contractor who comes along
- Don't rush into repairs, no matter how badly they're needed
- Verify the contractor's license at www.cslb.ca.gov or (800) 321-CSLB
- Don't pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment
- Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
- Get 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. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 278,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually.
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