Unlicensed Contractor in Double Trouble Following CSLB Sting
Marin undercover operation nets 16 unlicensed operators
SACRAMENTO — An unlicensed contractor who is no stranger to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) renewed his acquaintance with investigators in San Rafael during a sting operation on August 10 and 11, 2010. Patrick Alan West, who does business as Redwood Flooring and Green Tech Flooring, is among 16 who received Notices to Appear (NTA) in court for contracting without a license and related violations.
West, 46, of San Rafael received a citation from CSLB in 2008 for contracting without a license. He is scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. in Marin County Court on August 17, 2010, on one felony count of using another person’s contractor license number, misdemeanor counts of contracting without a license, and soliciting an excessive down payment. The criminal filing was prompted by a consumer complaint filed with CSLB earlier this year against Green Tech Flooring for poor installation. A law that went into effect earlier this year increases penalties for a third violation to up to $10,000 and 90 days to one year in county jail.
"CSLB and its partners in law enforcement are serious about cracking down on illegal construction activity in Marin County and throughout California,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands.
CSLB was assisted in the two-day sting operation by the Marin County District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices, and the California Department of Insurance.
Investigators posed as homeowners, and solicited bids for tree trimming, landscaping, tiling, flooring, and painting. The 15 who bid more than $500 for labor and materials received NTAs for contracting without a license. California law requires a state contractor license for all home improvement projects valued at greater than $500, and that contractors put their license number in all advertisements. The law also prohibits soliciting down payments in excess of $1,000 or 10% of the contract price, whichever is less, unless the contractor is one of about two dozen who purchases special consumer protection bonds that are noted on CSLB’s website.
Twelve will face an additional charge of illegal advertising and one also must answer to soliciting an excessive down payment. Robert Lee Zieber, 60, of Santa Rosa, received an NTA for not being registered with CSLB to sell home improvement contracting services. Zieber had a CSLB Tile contractor license that expired in 2002.
CSLB urges consumers to remember the following 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).
- Ask to see a photo identification to make sure you’re dealing with the correct person.
- Don't pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less. There is an exception to this for about two dozen contractors who purchase special bonds that are noted on CSLB’s website.
- Don't pay in cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Check references, and get at least three bids and a written contract before your project begins.
The following suspects are scheduled for arraignment in the Marin County Superior Court at 3501 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael on September 10, 2010:
|DAY 1 RESULTS|
|Michael Gregory Madden
MGM Tree Service
|47||Tree Service||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|45||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Jose Luis Ramirez
|38||Tile||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
Hauling & More
|51||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Charles Allen Barber
Marin Handyman Services
|41||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Santos Nava Martinez
Santos Gardening Service
|40||Tree Service||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Dale Sheridan Murphy
|36||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Charles Douglas Edwins
|65||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising,
soliciting excessive down payment
Geo’s Tree Service
|59||Tree Service||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
DAY 2 RESULTS
|Rafael Gonzalez Barajas
|46||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Gilberto Escalera Rojas
|26||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Robert Lee Zieber
|60||Tile||Unregistered home improvement salesperson|
|Pedro Antonio Montes Veloz
Pedro’s Tree Service
|41||Tree Service||Contracting without a license|
Professional Painting Interior & Exterior
|26||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Patrick Alan West
Redwood Carpeting/Green Tech
|46||Flooring and Floor Covering||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Mark Anthony Giammona
|40||Painting||Contracting without a license|
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB e-mail alerts at www.cslb.ca.gov. CSLB licenses and regulates California's more than 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2009-10, CSLB helped recover nearly $42 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
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