Quick Work Leads to Arrest in Fresno County Paving Scam
Contractors State License Board urges additional victims to come forward
SACRAMENTO — A joint investigation by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the Fresno County District Attorney's Office into an illegal paving operation has led to the arrest of 35-year-old Quirt Davis, of Clovis. CSLB received an anonymous tip on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, that a contractor was scamming an elderly man in the Selma area.
At the site, district attorney investigators discovered that the 82-year-old, hearing impaired property owner was told he was getting a deal with materials left over from another job. But, he was not given a price for the project until after work had begun. He was then told that the price was thousands of dollars more than he expected. Authorities arrived before any money was paid. The workers at the site said they were employed by Q.E. Davis and/or Davis Paving.
Business operator Quirt Davis showed up at the site and provided a contractor's license he indicated was his (#831486). The suspended license actually belongs to his 77-year-old mother in Missouri.
It is a felony, punishable by prison and/or fines of up to $10,000, to use another person's contractor license. Davis was arrested and charged with illegally using another's license, contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and faces workers' compensation violations* and possibly other charges relating to fraud. His equipment was also seized by Fresno County authorities.
Investigators from CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) believe there are other victims, since Davis Paving may have been illegally operating in the Fresno area for a number of months.
A common contracting scam used by transient paving crews is to take exorbitant amounts of money for substandard materials and work, and then quickly move on to more victims. Anyone who has had contact with, has knowledge of, or has been taken advantage of by Davis Paving or a similar traveling crew should contact SWIFT investigators immediately at (916) 255-2924.
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 the quality of their work is poor. They often ask for payment up front, and 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 contractor 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. CSLB licenses and regulates California's 316,000 contractors and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2007-08, CSLB helped recover $35.2 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
*Business & Professions (B&P) Code
- 7027.3 - Using another's license with intent to fraud
- 7027.1 - Illegal Advertising
- 7028 - Contracting without a license
- 3700.5 - Workers' compensation violation
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