Contractors State License Board Widens Investigation of Paving Scam
Hunt continues for additional victims while lead suspect arrested again
SACRAMENTO — The leader of a band of transient unlicensed asphalt pavers is now facing additional felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly scamming residents throughout California. He will also face an extensive civil case.
George Stanley, 28, of Moosup, Connecticut, was arrested at the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) headquarters in Sacramento Wednesday afternoon on a $100,000 felony arrest warrant out of Tulare County. The Tulare County District Attorney's Office filed charges based on complaints from alleged victims in that county.
Stanley was arrested when he came to CSLB headquarters to discuss the return of construction equipment that had been impounded when he was arrested on contracting without a license charges in Yuba County on April 16, 2008.
The Tulare County felony charges include:
- Conspiracy to commit a crime - Penal Code 182(a)(1)
- Grand theft by false pretenses - Penal Code 532(a)
- Contracting without a license - Business & Professions Code 7028(a)
- Not having workers' compensation insurance for employees - Labor Code 3700.5
Stanley was transported to Tulare County Jail in Visalia Wednesday night where he quickly posted the $100,000 bail.
The Tulare County District Attorney's Office also filed a civil case against Stanley, commanding him to stop doing business in California, stop from engaging in unlawful business practices in the state and is seeking civil penalties for his unlawful business practices (B&P Codes 7028.4, 17203, 17204 and 17206). In addition, the civil case seeks a permanent injunction to stop Stanley from working in the construction and paving business without a proper CSLB license (B&P Codes 7028.3 and 7028.4), and from having employees without proper workers' compensation insurance (Labor Code 3700).
Friday morning a hearing is scheduled in Tulare County Superior Court for the District Attorney's Office request for a Temporary Restraining Order, and Order to Show Cause for preliminary and permanent Injunctions against Stanley. Stanley's arraignment on the Tulare County criminal charges is June 4, 2008. "These transient criminals have one goal: That's to take consumers for as much money as they can and get out of town," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Consumers need to be on-guard so they're not scammed by these smooth-talking con artists."
Stanley's April 16, 2008, arrest in Yuba County led to misdemeanor criminal charges of contracting without a license (B&P Code 7028, Illegal advertising (B&P 7027.1) and not having workers' compensation insurance (Labor Code 3700.5). His first court date on those charges is May 29, 2008. An estimated $300,000 of equipment was impounded, including a dump truck, trailer, bobcat, roller, paver, and a vehicle. Additional cases in San Joaquin, Solano, Napa, Santa Clara, Monterey, Ventura, Los Angeles and Imperial Counties are under investigation. The Tulare County civil case seeks to prohibit Stanley from trying to reclaim that equipment.
CSLB Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) investigators believe that Stanley and his crew have been traveling up and down the state peddling their defective paving under the name of "Community Paving" or "West Coast Paving." It is also believed that there may be dozens more victims around the state who have not come forward.
Anyone who has had contact with, has knowledge of, or has been taken advantage of by the traveling crew should contact SWIFT investigators immediately.
- Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern and San Diego counties, can call the Norwalk SWIFT Unit at: (562) 345-7600.
- All other counties, can contact the Sacramento SWIFT Unit at: (916) 255-2924.
In addition to sightings in the Sacramento-Stockton region, suspects matching the description of Stanley and his crew with their large orange trucks have been reported in locations as far south as Calexico and as far north as Yuba City. They may have been working their way around the state since the beginning of the year, perhaps as far back as last summer. It is possible they, or companion crews, also using bright orange trucks and equipment with out-of-state or no license plates, may still be in operation.
The scammers usually approach property owners saying they have leftover materials and offer to fix potholes or pave driveways at bargain rates. Then, they raise the price after the work has been completed with no written contract, use defective materials, and/or provide poor quality work. They often ask for payment up front or will cash checks and leave the area before victims know they've been ripped off.
CSLB urges consumers to be wary of transient solicitors and to watch for these "red flags":
- No CSLB-issued contractors license
- Door-to-door solicitations
- Unsolicited offers to do painting, roofing or paving work
- Claims of leftover materials
- High pressure or scare tactics
- Reluctance to sign a written contract
- Demand for payment in cash
- Brand new vehicles, dump trucks, or other heavy road construction equipment with out-of-state license plates, no plates at all or obscured license plates.
- Toll-free business telephone number, instead of a local contact number
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors is available on the CSLB Web site, or by calling 800-321-2752. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 316,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2006-07, CSLB obtained nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
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