Repeat Offenders during CSLB Fresno Sting Proves Need to “Check The License First”
Unlicensed contracting puts homeowners at risk, undercuts legitimate contractors
SACRAMENTO – Eight people were caught for illegal contracting by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) during an undercover sting operation at a northwest Fresno home on May 28, 2015, with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
This was the second time two of the eight suspects were caught by CSLB. “Even when contractors tell you they’re experienced, it’s still best to check CSLB’s website or call our toll-free line to make sure the person is licensed for the type of work they’re offering,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson.
CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) investigators used craigslist.org and referrals from the district attorney’s office to locate suspected illegal contractors. Individuals were called to the three-bedroom, two-bath home to give bids for jobs that included painting, concrete, tile, and flooring.
One suspect gave a bid of $3,000 to stain kitchen cabinets and lay granite counters. After being arrested, the suspect stated he already had a court appearance scheduled for June 3, 2015, for his previous citation. Project bids ranged from $1,000 for a concrete pad to $6,500 for flooring and tile. Any bid over $500 in combined labor and materials requires a contractor license in the state of California (Business and Professions Code section 7028). First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. A second conviction can carry a mandatory sentence of up to 90 days in jail. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation.
Another suspect provided a $1,000 bid for cement. Once detained, the suspect claimed that he was working for a boss in Mexico; he still earned a Notice to Appear in superior court. Six of the suspects received citations for the misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). State law requires unlicensed contractors to state in all advertising that they are not licensed.
The eight offenders were ordered to answer to misdemeanor charges on August 4, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Fresno County Superior Court, 1100 Van Ness, Fresno, CA 93724. (MAP)
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATIONS Concepcion Esteban Ortega
C-15 – Flooring and Floor Covering Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising Matthew Eugene McDonald
C-8 – Concrete Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising Robert Anthony Linares
C-33 – Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising Roberto Hernandez Enriquez
C-54 – Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising Kendra Marie Bos
C-33 – Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising Satinder Gary Sidhu
C-33 – Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license Gerardo Flores
C-33 – Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license Lorenzo Jacinto
C-8 – Concreate Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising
CSLB encourages consumers to always “Check The License First” by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov or calling its toll-free automated line: 800.321.CSLB (2752). Also, visit CSLB’s website for tips about how to hire a contractor and to sign up for CSLB Email Alerts.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. CSLB licenses and regulates about 290,000 contractors in California, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2013-14, CSLB helped recover nearly $51 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
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