Registered Sex Offender Caught in Contractors State License Board Shasta County Sting Operation
Authorities warn consumers to carefully check out contractor history and references
SACRAMENTO — Big problems surfaced in the small town of Millville, east of Redding, during a sting operation last week conducted by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), in cooperation with the Shasta County District Attorney's Office. The Wednesday, January 21, 2009 undercover operation resulted in one arrest and eight Notices to Appear (NTA). A registered sex offender was among those caught in the sting.
The operation was conducted on a ranch in a remote part of Shasta County and targeted individuals from CSLB's complaint files, tips, and referrals from licensed contractors.
Kirk Hays, a prior licensee (#419058) who is on the Megan's Law list data base, showed up with his wife, Irina Alexandrovna Hays. Mrs. Hays holds a valid license (#903625) for installing pumps and filtration systems (license classification C61-D21). However, Mr. Hays examined the pumps and wiring, then gave a $2,000 bid for repairs and asked for a $1,000 down payment. The couple now faces citations and administrative charges for acting as a sales person without being registered, workers' compensation violations, and asking for an excessive down payment. (State law limits the amount of a down payment to no more than 10% or $1,000, whichever is less.)
Kevin Brouillard of Redding was arrested on an outstanding warrant when he came to make a bid at the scene and was transported to the Shasta County jail. The warrant was for failing to complete a work program related to a DUI conviction. John Siegrist was also served with a warrant when he came to make a bid and was given a citation to appear in court for illegal possession of fireworks.
Eight other people were detained, issued Notices to Appear (NTA) for illegal contracting and/or advertising after they bid more than $500 on various contracting projects at the ranch, and released. It is illegal to contract on projects valued at $500 or more in California without a valid state contractor license in the appropriate trade classification.
CSLB conducts an average of one sting each week somewhere in the state. "Consumers don't always realize the serious risks they take when hiring people to work on their property, which is why they should always check them out first," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Just because someone is from the local area, doesn't mean they are safe. Many of the suspects caught up in CSLB stings routinely have other more serious legal problems."
The eight suspects who received NTAs will appear in Shasta County Superior Court on March 9, 2009, to answer the misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license. The charges carry a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Penalties increase if the suspects are caught a second time.
CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when hiring a contractor:
- Be especially hesitant when approached by someone offering home improvement services door-to-door.
- Verify the contractor's license by checking online at www.cslb.ca.gov, or via CSLB's automated phone system at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
- Don't pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less.
- Don't pay in cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Check references; get three bids and a written contract.
- Contact CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
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.
- 6 Administrative Citations
- 2 Licensee Citations
- 2 Warning Letters
- 5 Labor Code 3700.5 (worker's compensation violations)
- 1 Warrant Arrest
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