CSLB Sends Message to Unlicensed Contractors in Riverside County


Fifteen caught in undercover operation for contracting and advertising illegally; one suspect could face additional misdemeanor charge for fraudulent use of someone else’s contractor license number.

SACRAMENTO – A few phone calls by undercover investigators last week in Norco proved how easy it can be to find unlicensed contractors illegally trying to get work. A sting operation conducted by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) on July 25-26, resulted in 15 individuals being cited for alleged illegal contracting. Thanks to help from the Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Investigation and the Riverside District Attorney’s Office the suspects received citations with a date to appear in court.

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) compiled a list of suspected unlicensed contractors and invited them to place bids on home improvement projects for a single-family home near the Corona Municipal Airport. Individuals gave bids for concrete services, fencing, painting, tile services, and more, which ranged from $2,500 for exterior painting to $21,000 for paving concrete; high costs to risk on someone who is potentially inexperienced and uninsured.

Fifteen suspects received a citation for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code section 7028) after providing bids over the legal limit. It is illegal for anyone to submit a home improvement bid of over $500 in combined labor and material costs unless that person holds an active CSLB-issued license. 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.

“Unlicensed contractors often find ways to add costs to a project along the way and it’s not uncommon for projects to be abandoned before completion,” said CSLB Registrar Dave Fogt. “It’s our job to protect consumers by reminding them about the importance of hiring licensed workers and checking a contractor’s license status on CSLB’s website. We also provide tools for unlicensed contractors to become legitimate.”

To further aid California residents in hiring a licensed contractor, CSLB has introduced a new website tool to help consumers start their search. 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. In addition, CSLB holds monthly “Licensing Workshops” for potential licensees in Northern and Southern California to explain the application process.

All suspects from the two-day sting received an additional citation for the misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising (BCP § section 7027.1). State law requires that unlicensed contractors note in all advertising that they are not licensed.

Additionally, one of the suspects is alleged to have fraudulently used a contractor license number – the suspect displayed the license number as his own (BPC § 119(c)).

All offenders were ordered to answer to misdemeanor charges on October 19 -20, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. at the Riverside Hall of Justice (MAP), 4100 Main Street, Corona, CA 92501.

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

DAY 1

SUSPECT NAME

BUSINESS NAME

CITY OF RESIDENCE

LICENSE

CLASSIFICATION

ALLEGED

VIOLATIONS

Juan Miguel Berumen Rivera

Fontana

C-13 Fencing

Contracting without a license,

Illegal advertising

Jesus Yanez Cervantes

Muscoy

C-33 – Painting and Decorating, C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering

Contracting without a license,

Illegal advertising, Fraudulent use of a contractor license number

 

Manuel Garcia, Jr.

San Bernardino

C-33 – Painting and Decorating

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Emilio Johnzon

Lake Elsinore

C-33 – Painting and Decorating

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Korey James Givens

Rancho Cucamonga

C-54-Ceramic Mosaic Tile Contractor

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Fernando Carranza

Riverside

C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Fernando Molina Garcia

Rialto

C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising


DAY 2

SUSPECT NAME

BUSINESS NAME

CITY OF RESIDENCE

LICENSE

CLASSIFICATION

ALLEGED

VIOLATIONS

Daniel Ruiz Alcaraz

Aliso Viejo

C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Miguel Angel Ramirez

Perris

C-8 - Concrete

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Theodore Shawn Moody

Lake Elsinore

C-54-Ceramic Mosaic Tile Contractor

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Jose Enrique Popoca

Corona

C-33 – Painting and Decorating

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Tomas Jesus Juan-Antonio

Riverside

C-33 – Painting and Decorating

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Ismael Lopez

Fontana

C-54-Ceramic Mosaic Tile Contractor

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Christopher John Woodbridge

Lake Elsinore

C-54-Ceramic Mosaic Tile Contractor

Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

Andres Gonzalez

San Bernardino

C-29-Masonry Contractor

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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