CSLB’s Statewide California Blitz Sends 113 to Court
Enforcement of Stop Orders issued to 32 for failure to obtain workers’ compensation policies for employees
SACRAMENTO —Investigators from the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) conducted two days of simultaneous sting operations in eight cities on October 12 and 13, 2011. CSLB and partners caught 113 people in violation of state home improvement contracting laws in Burbank, Cameron Park, Los Banos, Madera, Murrieta, Orange, Oroville, and Union City.
SWIFT investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids for home improvement projects including landscaping, tree trimming, painting, tiling, and cabinetry. Suspects who bid more than $500 for labor and materials were issued notices to appear in court for contracting without a license in violation of Business and Profession Code Section 7028. Some will face additional charges for illegal advertising (B&P §7027.1), soliciting excessive down payments (B&P §7159.5(a)(3), and failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance (Labor Code §3700.5).
In 32 cases, investigators issued stop orders, which prevent licensed and unlicensed contractors from working until they obtain workers’ compensation insurance for employees. The legislation that gives CSLB the authority to issue the stop orders just went into effect this year (B&P §7127).
"CSLB and its partners in law enforcement are serious about enforcing our state’s consumer protection laws," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Unlicensed, illegal activity that puts homeowners at risk and puts those who follow state laws at a competitive disadvantage will not be tolerated."
Participants and highlights from the two-day blitz are noted below:
|Location||Agencies Participating||Highlights||Court Date(s)|
(Los Angeles County)
|Burbank City Attorney’s Office
Burbank Police Department
California Highway Patrol
|9 notices to appear
5 stop orders, including 1 to a licensee for failure to carry workers' comp
|December 28 and 29, 2011|
(El Dorado County)
|El Dorado County District Attorney's Office||13 notices to appear
3 stop orders
|No arraignment date set|
|Merced County District Attorney's Office
Los Banos Police Department
|12 notices to appear
8 stop orders
1 suspect booked for Madera County warrant for contempt of court
10 cited by Los Banos PD for failure to have city business licenses
|December 12, 2011|
|Madera County District Attorney’s Office
Madera County Sheriff’s Department, Oakhurst Office
|19 notices to appear
13 stop orders
6 citations for no or suspended drivers license
|December 8, 2011|
|Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
Murrieta Police Department
|11 notices to appear
1 charged for failing to pay prior citation for contracting without a license
|January 11 and 12, 2012|
|Orange County District Attorney's Office
Orange Police Department
|19 notices to appear
1 repeat offender with revoked license
1 cited for contracting on expired, suspended license
|December 15 and 22, 2011|
|Butte County District Attorney’s Office||19 notices to appear
1 stop order
2 parolees and 2 probationers caught
|November 25, 2011|
|Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
Union City Police Department
|11 notices to appear
2 stop orders
1 booked on outstanding warrant
|November 22, 2011|
CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips before hiring anyone to work on their home or property:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see their license and a photo ID to verify their identity.
- Always check the license number on CSLB’s website at www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com to make sure the license is in good standing.
- Don’t pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment. There is an exception for about two dozen licensees who carry special bonds to protect consumers. These exceptions are noted on CSLB’s website.
- 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.
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 email alerts. 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 2010-11, CSLB helped recover nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
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