CSLB Shuts Down Illegal Operators During Undercover Sting in San Diego County


Seventeen cited on unlicensed contracting charges, fourteen face additional charge for illegal advertising

SACRAMENTO - During a two-day undercover operation in the city of Santee, Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigators cracked down on illegal contracting and cited suspects for placing bids over the legal threshold for unlicensed contractors and for violating state advertising rules. The suspects left the location with a date to appear in court.

Last week, members of CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) developed a list of alleged unlicensed operators from ads posted online, referrals from business cards, and ads placed on the sides of trucks parked in the area. With help from the San Diego Sheriff's Department and the California Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation, SWIFT issued citations to 17 individuals for contracting illegally.

Posing as homeowners, SWIFT investigators invited the suspects to a single-family home near Carlton Oaks Country Club to bid on home improvement work. Suspects placed bids on concrete, tile flooring, painting, rebuilding a fence and patio cover, and stucco work.

Bids ranged from $1,000 for fencing to $8,040 for concrete work, all estimates that far exceed the legal limit of $500 for labor and materials combined when contracting without a state-issued license.

The individuals received a Notice to Appear in court and face a misdemeanor charge for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) section (§) 7028). First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines; subsequent convictions bring harsher penalties.

"If someone hands you a business card or has a fancy ad, that doesn't necessarily mean they are qualified to do the job," said Dave Fogt, CSLB Registrar. "A California licensed contractor should have his or her license number listed on all business cards and advertisements, and consumers should always verify the license number with CSLB." Consumers can also search CSLB's website to find licensed contractors in their area.

Fourteen of the suspects caught during the sting were given an additional citation for their illegal advertisements (BPC §7027.1). State law requires that unlicensed contractors mention in all advertisements that they are not licensed.

Those cited are scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. on May 14-15, 2018, at San Diego East Co. Regional Center (MAP), 250 E. Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020.

NOTE: All suspects are presumed innocent until their case is resolved.

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Juan Jose Antonio Zacari
San Diego
C-8 Concrete Services Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Pablo Martinez Guzman
San Diego
C-8 Concrete Services Contracting Without a License
Naiel Shamoul Tito
El Cajon
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
David Adrian Salazar Gomez
Oceanside
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Minh Canh Doan
San Diego
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertisement
Richard Joseph Allan
Encinitas
C-5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Chris George Schmall
San Diego
C-13 - Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License
Oscar Trujillo Ocampo
El Cajon
C-8 Concrete Services Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Jeffrey Alan Manning
San Diego
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License

DAY 2
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
John Sierra Venegas
Vista
C-8 Concrete Services Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Benjamin Dean Potratz
Julian
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Mario Acuna
Jamul
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Volta Radoslav Farrera De Loza
Lemon Grove
C-8 Concrete Services Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Juan Ramon Lopez
San Diego
C-35 Lathing and Plastering Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Gregory Van Houston
San Diego
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Augustin Vazquez
La Mesa
C-8 Concrete Services Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Wenceslaus Avalos
National City
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

CSLB encourages consumers to always "check the license first" before hiring a contractor by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). CSLB has introduced a new website feature to help consumers start their search for a licensed contractor. The new "Find My Licensed Contractor" feature enables users to build a list of all licensed contractors, sorted by trade, in a specific geographic area.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. CSLB licenses and regulates almost 290,000 contractors in California, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2016-17, CSLB helped recover over $47 million in ordered restitution for consumers.


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