CSLB Teams Up with South Pasadena Police to Send Message to Illegal Operators
Eleven to appear in court for contracting without a license and related charges
SACRAMENTO —The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) conducted an undercover sting on April 21, 2011, in conjunction with the South Pasadena Police Department, where investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) posed as homeowners seeking a contractor for fencing and painting work at a South Pasadena home.
uspects who bid more than $500 for the job were issued notices to appear in court. California law requires home improvement jobs valued at greater than $500 for labor and materials to be undertaken by a licensed contractor.
Some of the suspects are also facing charges of illegal advertising and soliciting an excessive down payment. Contractors are required by law to place their license number in all advertisements. Those without a contractor license may undertake home improvement jobs valued at less than $500, but their ads must state that they are not a licensed contractor. State law also prohibits solicitation of a down payment greater than 10 percent of the contract or $1,000, whichever is less. There is an exception for about two dozen licensed contractors who purchase special bonds for consumer protection and are noted on CSLB’s website.
The first suspect issued a notice to appear was also cited and released by South Pasadena Police for a $5,000 warrant for contracting without a license. Orlando Martinez, 51, of Van Nuys, was caught in a 2004 CSLB sting in Van Nuys. Armando Rene Asturia-Garcia, 27, and Miguel Angel Posadas Portillo, 46, both of Los Angeles, had their vehicles towed and were cited for driving with licenses that had been suspended for driving under the influence.
"CSLB welcomes this opportunity to work with the South Pasadena Police and put unlicensed operators on notice that this illegal activity will not be tolerated," said Registrar Steve Sands. "This is also a good opportunity to remind consumers about the potential pitfalls of not checking to make sure the person you hire to work on your home is properly licensed."
In addition to the contracting laws mentioned above, contractors must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for all of their employees. This protects the homeowner from liability in the event that a worker is injured on their property.
CSLB urges consumers to consider the following tips before signing a home improvement contract:
- Don't pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less.
- Don't pay in cash.
- Verify the contractor's license 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.
- Check references, and get at least three bids and a detailed, written contract.
The following suspects are scheduled for arraignment on July 20 and 21, 2011, in the court facility at 150 West Commonwealth Avenue in Alhambra:
|SUSPECT NAME & CITY||AGE||LICENSE
|51||Fencing||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment. Cited and released by South Pasadena Police for previous $5,000 warrant for contracting without a license.|
|Jose Rolando Moreno
|51||Painting||Contracting without a license, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Raul Che Vargas
|36||Painting||Contracting without a license, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Jose Luis Garcia Jr.
|38||Fencing||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Armando Rene Asturia-Garcia
|27||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising. Car towed for DUI and driver license suspension. Cited by South Pasadena Police.|
|Miguel Antonio Rodriguez
|63||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Miguel Angel Posadas Portillo
|46||Painting||Contracting without a license, soliciting excessive down payment. Car towed for DUI and driver license suspension. Cited by South Pasadena Police.|
|Daniel Antonio Aloy
|54||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Larry Francisco Mendoza
|28||Painting||Contracting without a license|
|Walter Onan Ochoa-Posadas
|30||Painting||Contracting without a license, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Salvador Jimenez Trujillo
|49||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
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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