First Ever Cal-Neva Border Blitz Targets Unlicensed Operators
Golden and Silver States’ contractor boards team up to strike out illegal activity on both sides of state line
SACRAMENTO —For the first time, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) teamed up this week in a joint enforcement operation on both sides of the California-Nevada state line. Particular attention was paid to people who crossed the state line to illegally bid on jobs.
The effort began Thursday with an undercover sting operation at a pair of neighboring cabins in Truckee, California. Members of CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) led the sting by posing as owners of the cabins, getting bids for various improvement projects including landscaping, painting, and flooring. Those who bid more than $500 for labor and materials were issued a notice to appear (NTA) in court. A total of 13 NTAs were issued for contracting without a license and related violations including illegal advertising and requesting an excessive down payment. Six of the 13 were issued to residents of Nevada. One of those six is a Nevada-licensed contractor. CSLB investigators received more than $86,600 in illegal bids during Thursday’s sting, with three of the bids for at least $12,000.
California law requires any home improvement job valued at $500 or more for labor and materials be undertaken by a California-licensed contractor. California and Nevada have a reciprocity agreement, making it easier for contractors licensed in one state to get a license in the other. California law also requires advertisements for home improvement contracting services to include the California contractor license number. Those who perform jobs valued at less than $500 are allowed to do so in the state of California, but their ads must state that they are not a California-licensed contractor. In California a down payment for home improvement work cannot total more than 10% of the contract or $1,000, whichever is less.
“CSLB is excited to have this opportunity to take our reciprocity agreement a step further by having our investigators team up to share ideas and resources for combating the underground economy on both sides of the state line,” said CSLB registrar Steve Sands. “It is important that those contracting for home improvement projects in both states comply with consumer-protection laws and are properly licensed and insured in that state in which they are working.”
CSLB also acknowledges law enforcement backup provided at the sting by the Nevada County District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices, Truckee Police Department, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Department of Investigations. An NCSB criminal investigator observed the sting; a CSLB investigator will do the same at an undercover sting operation today in northern Nevada. Sweep operations will also take place on both sides of the state line today.
The following suspects who received NTAs are scheduled to be arraigned in Nevada County Superior Court facility in Truckee at 10075 Levonne Avenue #301 in Truckee on July 18, 2011, at 9:00 a.m.:
|SUSPECT NAME & CITY||AGE||WORK
|Richard Mark Russell
|49||Flooring||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
Kings Beach, CA
|33||Earthwork and Paving||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|39||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Edgar Ramon Solorio Zaragosa
|29||Landscaping||Contracting without a license|
|Jorge Fernando Pena-Campos
|49||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Jeffrey James Drake
|50||Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Michael David Durfee
|42||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Aleta Jeanine Renteria
|46||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payment|
|Steven Gregory Snider
|54||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, failure to carry workers’ compensation|
|Matthew Nestore Williams
|29||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|34||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Donald L Otto
|61||Painting||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|Bradley John Allen Moran
Soda Springs, CA
|38||Landscaping||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
CSLB and NSCB urge consumers to follow these tips before signing a contract for home improvement work:
- Hire only licensed contractors that are properly licensed in the appropriate classification for the work to be undertaken in the state in which the job will be done.
- Always check the license number on CSLB’s or NCSB’s websites to make sure the contractor’s license is in good standing.
- Don’t pay in cash, and don’t let payments get ahead of the work.
- Get at least three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
- Do not sign any contract until you completely understand all its terms.
The California Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the 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.
The Nevada State Contractors Board is committed to protecting the public’s health, safety, and welfare through licensing and regulation of the construction industry. Under Nevada Revised Statutes, a licensee is subject to disciplinary action by the Board for failure to comply with the requirements of the laws or regulations governing contractors. Violations may result in Board action against the contractor’s license. The State Contractors Board has the power to regulate contractors and discipline licensees who violate NRS 624. Disciplinary action may consist of a fine of up to $10,000 per offense, order corrective action, suspension, revocation or other action.
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