High Contracting Bids Leave Suspects with Citations in CSLB Long Beach Sting


Four suspects cited for illegal contracting and may face misdemeanor charges

SACRAMENTO - High bidders offering to do construction jobs without the required contractor license walked away from a sting operation with empty pockets and a handful of citations.

On June 20-21, the Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) went undercover as homeowners and contacted alleged unlicensed contractors to come and bid on drywall and concrete work at a home near California State University Long Beach (CSULB). With help from the California Department of Insurance, Fraud Division and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, suspects received citations and a date to appear in court.

Four men placed bids ranging from $5,000 for drywall work to $8,000 to pour concrete; well above the $500 legal threshold for contracting without a license in California (Business and Professions Code (BPC) § 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.

"Our primary goal in conducting sting operations is to keep consumers safe from illegal contracting scams," said Dave Fogt, CSLB Registrar. "Another reason is to educate people about how to get a contractor license so they don't face these charges a second time. Those who want more information about getting a contractor license should come to one of our licensing workshops."

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

In addition, one licensed contractor could end up paying a $1,000 fine for neglecting to place his license number on his advertising (BPC 7030.5).

Those cited are scheduled to appear September 25, 2018, at the Long Beach Superior Court (MAP), 275 Magnolia, Long Beach CA 90802.

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

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
James L. Moore
Pomona
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Esequiel Robles
Norwalk
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

DAY 2
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Roger Allen Somes
Long Beach
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Hector Francisco Rueda
Huntington Beach
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Laki Ikavuka
Santa Fe Springs
C-8 Concrete Contractor Requirement to Include License Number

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.


Archives: 2019 2018