Illegal Ads Lead CSLB to Shady Contractors in Fresno Undercover Operation


Nine individuals now face charges related to illegal contracting

SACRAMENTO - Suspicious advertisements led Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigators straight to suspected unlicensed contractors who were invited to an undercover sting operation conducted last week in Fresno.

Individuals who showed-up on August 8-9, 2018, at a home near Fancher Creek gave bids for home improvement jobs, including pool service, painting, fencing, and tree trimming.

Nine of them provided undercover investigators with bids ranging from $1,300 for tree services to $6,190 to lay concrete, well above the $500 legal threshold where a California state contractors' license is needed. As a result, they could now face a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) §7028).

First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. A second conviction carries a mandatory 90 days in jail. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation.

Eight individuals may also face a misdemeanor charge for their illegal advertisements. Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements; unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license. (BPC §7027.1) The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000.

"It doesn't matter what kind of advertisement - business cards, signs on the sides of trucks, or online, workers should either include their CSLB license number or mention somewhere that they are unlicensed," said Dave Fogt, CSLB Registrar. "This allows homeowners to make the best choice when hiring someone to work on their home."

To avoid hiring a potentially unqualified worker for home improvement projects, homeowners should use CSLB's online "Find My Licensed Contractor" feature to download and/or print a list of qualified license contractors in their area.

Lastly, two of the suspects received a third citation for not carrying workers' compensation insurance policies to cover their workers (Labor Code §3700.5). This resulted in "stop orders" (a legal demand to cease all employee labor at a job site), as the unlicensed individuals brought hired help with them to the home.

The California Department of Insurance and Fresno District Attorney's Office were onsite to process background checks while SWIFT issued citations.

All suspects are scheduled to appear on October 9, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. at the Fresno County Superior Court (MAP), 929 L Street, Fresno, CA 93721-2616.

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

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Anthony Michael Mazziliano, Jr.
Clovis
D-35 Pool and Spa Maintenance Contracting without a license
Frank Ortiz
Fresno
D-49 Tree Services Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Joshua Bruff
Madera
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No Workers’ Compensation
Juan Espinoza Gonzalez
Fresno
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Michael Glenn Byas
Fresno
D-35 Pool and Spa Maintenance Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No Workers’ Compensation
Jacob Jordan Hernandez
Fresno
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

DAY 2
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Cesareo Venegas Isidro
Fresno
D-49 Tree Services Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Gonzalo Alvarado DeLara
Madera
C-13 Fencing Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
John Charles Hanning
Fresno
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

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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