CSLB Catches Several Suspects at Undercover Contractor Sting in Lafayette
Revealing Why Checking the License First is Essential


CSLB Most Wanted suspect, repeat offenders, and revoked licensee among 16 people cited

SACRAMENTO - An undercover sting operation in Lafayette revealed why it is important for consumers to do their due diligence before hiring a contractor to work on their home improvement projects. Investigators from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) cited 16 people for alleged unlicensed contracting on June 13-14, 2018, including two repeat offenders, a revoked licensee, and a CSLB Most Wanted suspect.

One man caught at the sting was a CSLB Northern Statewide Investigative Fraud Team's (SWIFT) Most Wanted suspects for fraudulently using another contractor's license number without his permission. A former licensee, who had his license revoked in 2013 for multiple violations, placed a bid of $10,000 for demolition and rebuilding a patio cover Two additional suspects caught in previous CSLB stings for unlicensed contracting charges were cited after placing bids over the legal limit and will be back in court for the same violations. SWIFT investigators were assisted by the Lafayette Police Department.

A total of 15 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 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.

CSLB's SWIFT investigators compiled a list of suspected unlicensed contractors and invited them to place bids on home improvement projects for a single-family home in Contra Costa County. Individuals were called to give bids for jobs for concrete services, tree removal, fencing, painting, and more. Project bids ranged from $2,500 for interior painting to $10,000 for demolition and installing a structure in the backyard.

"Unlicensed contractors can be very convincing salespeople, but that does not always mean they are qualified for the job," said CSLB Registrar David R. Fogt. "It is key for consumers to do their own research and check the license first."

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. Using the feature will give consumers peace of mind knowing that the contractors they're considering hiring are licensed; it is a better alternative to searching through online advertisements that may not be legitimate.

Fourteen people 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, four others received a Notice to Appear in court for requiring an excessive down payment. It is illegal for contractors to ask for more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)). Three people who had employees working for them were also cited for lacking workers' compensation insurance (Labor Code §3700.5).
One person caught during the sting was not a registered Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS). Licensees should be aware that an HIS is defined in BPC § 7152 as a person who is employed by a licensed contractor to solicit, sell, negotiate, or execute contracts for home improvements, for the sale, installation or furnishing of home improvement goods or services, or of swimming pools, spas, or hot tubs. People doing this work must register with CSLB.

Five of the suspects are alleged to have fraudulently used contractor license numbers - three allegedly used license numbers that did not belong to them (BPC § 7027.3) and two allegedly altered information related to the license number (BPC § 119).

All offenders were ordered to answer to misdemeanor charges on August 15, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. in Contra Costa County Superior Court, 725 Court St, Martinez, CA 9455..

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

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Enemecio Lopez
Richmond
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Bruce Adair
El Sobrante
C-61/D-49 - Tree Service Illegal advertising,
Unregistered Home Improvement Salesperson
Daniel John Ortiz
Bay Point
C-13 Fencing Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
James Yancey
Pleasant Hill
C-5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive Down payment,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Gerson Paul Orozco Bamaca
Oakland
C-36 Plumbing Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Matthew James Garner
Walnut Creek
C-61/D-49 - Tree Service Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Circilo Rosas Lopez
Concord
C-13 Fencing Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Joseph Giovanni Lencioni
Oakley
C-33 - Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive Down payment
Andrew Michael Stoker
Brentwood
C-33 - Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license
Margarito Perez Velasquez
San Rafael
C-6 Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Pascual Castaneda
Pleasant Hill
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Andrei Lofman
Vallejo
C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Fraudulent use of a contractor license number

DAY 2
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Don Perruquet
San Jose
C-5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance,
Fraudulently altering license information,
Fraudulent use of a contractor number
Nicolas Ramos Gomez
Oakland
C-8 - Concrete Contracting without a license,
llegal advertising
Toni Saito
Concord
C-8 - Concrete Contracting without a license,
Excessive Down payment,
Fraudulently altering license information,
Fraudulent use of a contractor number
Changil Chung
San Ramon
C-7 Low Voltage Systems Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive Down payment

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 about $47 million in ordered restitution for consumers.


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