Roseville Sting Points Out Potential Dangers of Unlicensed Operators
Registered sex offender among those caught in two-day CSLB undercover operation
SACRAMENTO — Three men were arrested during a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) sting operation in Roseville on September 8 and 9, 2010. Eleven people now face criminal charges or administrative fines for contracting without a license and other related charges after CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), Amador and Placer County District Attorneys Offices, and the Roseville Police Department conducted the two-day undercover sting operation at a Roseville home. The three who were arrested and booked during the sting included an unlicensed contractor who is a registered sex offender and was carrying a concealed weapon, and two unlicensed operators who brought employees with no-bail arrest warrants.
"Consumers may not realize just how risky it can be to allow someone without a contractor license into their home," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Since 2005, CSLB has required new applicants and licensees changing or adding classifications to submit fingerprints that are screened by the Department of Justice before a license is issued."
During the operation, SWIFT investigators posed as homeowners who were soliciting bids for landscaping, painting, concrete, roofing, framing, and flooring work at the Roseville home. Suspects who bid more than $500 for labor and materials received a notice to appear (NTA) or an administrative citation.
By law, only state-licensed contractors are authorized to work on home improvement jobs valued at more than $500. Contractors also must place their state contractor license number in all advertisements. Unlicensed individuals may advertise and accept jobs valued at less than $500, but their ads must state that they are not a licensed contractor. State law also requires licensees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for all of their employees and for themselves if they are roofing contractors.
Suspects who received NTAs will be arraigned at the Placer County Superior Court facility at 10820 Justice Center Drive in Roseville at 8:30 a.m. on November 11 and 16, 2010:
|DAY 1 RESULTS|
|53||Landscaping||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Max Espinosa Gomez
|41||Concrete||Citation - Contracting without a license|
|Ha Manh Nguyen
|55||Flooring||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance|
|Jerry Thomas Garza
|22||Painting||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Employee arrested on no-bail, outstanding traffic warrant, Colusa County
|Adrian Eric Littlefield
|33||Concrete||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance
Employee arrested on multiple no-bail warrants
|Brian Sean Fenno
|43||Concrete||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance|
|Eduardo Gonzalez Lopez
|35||Landscaping||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|DAY 2 RESULTS|
|53||Flooring||No NTA issued - Registered sex offender booked for possession of a concealed weapon, will face a misdemeanor count of contracting without a license with above charges|
|Jose Saul Chavez
|44||Landscaping||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|28||Framing and Rough Carpentry||NTA - Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|John Williams Downs
|62||Framing and Rough Carpentry||Citation - Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising|
CSLB urges consumers to remember the following tips when hiring a contractor:
- 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 the person’s identification to make sure you are dealing with the correct individual.
- 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.
- Make sure your contractor obtains the necessary building permits for any project. If you are unsure of these requirements, contact your local building department.
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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