CSLB Uses Team Approach in Santa Monica Contractor Sting
City agencies help with 15 illegal contractor arrests
SACRAMENTO — The California Contractors State License Board , city of Santa Monica, and Santa Monica Police Department caught 15 individuals suspected of illegal contracting during a two-day undercover sting operation last week at a Santa Monica apartment building. The agencies joined forces after experiencing an upswing in illegal contracting activity in that community.
CSLBs Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) investigators used the eight-unit complex on August 6 and 7, 2014, after contacting potential suspects to bid for painting and hot water heater installation. The Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation also participated in the sting.
Seven unlicensed individuals were nabbed on the first day; eight were cited for illegal contracting on the second day. The highest bid of $8,900 was submitted for painting far in excess of the $500 legal limit. Any work and/or materials that cost more than $500 require a CSLB-issued license (Business and Professions Code section 7028(a)).
CSLB Registrar Steve Sands commended the Santa Monica agencies efforts to combat illegal contracting, noting that the operation is an example of the multi-agency approach CSLB uses throughout the state to protect consumers and ensure fair competition among contractors.
We have excellent partnerships with law enforcement and district attorney offices around California that share our interest of enforcing contractor laws and making sure consumers are not scammed, Sands said.
All 15 suspects were cited for contracting without a license. Nine face an additional misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise for jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor. One of the men showed investigators a contractor license number that did not belong to him and was cited for an additional charge (Business and Professions Code section 7027.3).
In addition, Santa Monica Code Enforcement officers cited six of the suspects during the two days for operating without a city business license.
Suspects received Notice to Appear citations for 8:30 a.m. on November 5 or 6, 2014, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, 11701 La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045 (Map) to answer to illegal contracting charges.
SANTA MONICA: DAY 1