CSLB Cites Two Dozen for Illegal Contracting in Lafayette


Unlicensed and uninsured individuals caught in undercover sting operation

SACRAMENTO – Alleged unlicensed contractors who arrived at a home ready to work got a surprise last week in Upper Happy Valley when the "homeowner" turned out to be an undercover Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigator.

On February 12-13, CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), with help from the Lafayette Police Department, went undercover to catch suspected unlicensed contractors. Posing as homeowners, investigators contacted targets from their online, print, and vehicle advertisements to set up a time to come bid on home improvement jobs.

Of those contacted, 24 came to the site to bid on jobs like interior painting, landscaping, tree removal, pouring and paving concrete, and plumbing.

This highest bid received over the two-days was $11,700 for landscaping services including a $3,900 down payment. The work would have included labor and materials for laying new sod and installing a new irrigation system. This suspect, along with 21 others, received a notice to appear in court for charging above the legal threshold without owning state issued contractor license.

In California, unlicensed contractors cannot charge over $500 for labor and materials combined (Business and Professions Code (BPC) § 7028). First-conviction penalties for misdemeanor contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation. A second conviction carries a mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail.

“CSLB’s investigations should be a lesson for workers to begin the process of getting their license or to stop disobeying the law,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “These operations could also be an example to homeowners that hiring unlicensed individuals is a huge risk and recourse is limited if the persons’ work is substandard or never completed.”

Twenty-one of the suspects also received a citation for neglecting to state in their ads they were not licensed (BPC § 7027.1). Advertisements for unlicensed contractors must note that they are not a state-licensed contractor.

In addition, eight of the bidders asked for an excessive down payment before starting work and were also written-up for that alleged violation. It is illegal to ask for more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)).

One suspect did not carry workers' compensation (WC) insurance policies to cover those working for them (Labor Code section 3700.5). This resulted in a "stop order" (a legal demand to cease all employee labor at a job site).

All suspects were ordered to appear in court at the Contra Costa County Superior Court, 725 Court Street, Martinez, CA, 94553 on April 26, 2019, at 9:00 am.

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

LAFAYETTE DAY 1 – FEBRUARY 12, 2019
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Kelvin Gurierrez Recinos
Richmond
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Jose Vega
Brentwood
C-61/D-49 Tree Removal Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Edgar Osorio-Hernandez
Livermore
C-61/D-38 Sand and Water Blasting Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Rosalba Jimenez-Luevano
Briones
C-27 Landscaping Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Damin Luna Hernandez
Briones
C-27 Landscaping Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Rusbaley Llene Alvarez-Lopez
Concord
C-61/D-49 Tree Removal Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Marco Martinez
El Sobrante
C-61/D-38 Sand and Water Blasting Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Heriberto Perez Salazar
Concord
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Excessive Downpayment
Gerardo Guerrero Ramirez
Richmond
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Tuiono Tovo Malakai
San Lorenzo
C-8 Concrete Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Howard Helm
Pleasant Hill
C-61/D-38 Sand and Water Blasting Contractor Illegal Advertising

LAFAYETTE DAY 2 – FEBRUARY 13, 2019
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Richard Mark Sturgeon
Concord
C-33 Interior Painting Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Alan Mitchell Groh
Concord
C-33 Interior Painting Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Wael Y Abdulrahim
Berkeley
C-33 Interior Painting Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Emilio Ramirez Castillo
Oakley
C-8 Concrete Contractor Illegal Advertising
Alfonso Gerado Rios
Rialto
C-5 Carpentry Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment,
Workers Compensation
Cesar Francisco Rivera Rodriguez
Antioch
C-27 Landscaping Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Juan Ochoa Ninapaitan
San Leandro
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Peter Joseph Shultz
Concord
C-27 Landscaping Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Luis Vergara
Bay Point
C-36 Plumbing Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Downpayment
Perla Rubi Reynoso Trejo
San Jose
C-61/D-49 Tree Removal Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Henri Mauricio Maldonado Reyes
San Jose
C-61/D-49 Tree Removal Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Adolfo Aguilar
Oakland
C-61/D-49 Tree Removal Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Pedro Aguilar
Oakland
C-61/D-49 Tree Removal Contracting Without a License

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 2017-18, CSLB helped recover over $50 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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