CSLB Targets Unlicensed Contractors in Statewide December Sting


Total of 46 Suspects Cited Across Five Counties

SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is warning consumers about the dangers of hiring an unlicensed contractor. The warning comes after CSLB conducted a series of coordinated sting operations over the past week across five California counties, resulting in citations for 46 suspected unlicensed contractors.

CSLB joined partner law enforcement agencies on December 10-12, 2019 to conduct the sting, including El Dorado District Attorney's Office, Monterey County District Attorney's Office, Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, Kern County District Attorney's Office, DCA Division of Investigations and the California Department of Insurance.

The undercover operations took place at homes in Placerville (El Dorado County), Carmel (Monterey County), Reseda (Los Angeles County), San Bernardino (San Bernardino County), and Bakersfield (Kern County).

Investigators from CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) used newspaper and online ads as well as business cards to find people suspected of performing illegal contracting jobs. The suspects were asked to provide bids for home improvement jobs like painting, paving, flooring, tree trimming, insulation, concrete, and tile installation.

During the operation, bids ranged from $700 for interior painting to more than $18,000 for concrete installation. State law requires a state-issued contractor license for construction or home repair work that totals $500 or more in materials and/or labor.

Forty-five suspects who 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.

"This holiday season, homeowners should realize that if they hire someone who's not licensed, they run a much bigger risk of getting ripped off," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "When consumers do their homework and hire a licensed contractor there are more protections in place to prevent problems."

Consumers can check a contractor's license status by conducting an "Instant License Check" in a matter of seconds on CSLB's website by typing in the contractor's license number, name, or business name. The search results reveal whether or not the contractor's license is active and/or in good standing.

Homeowners can also use CSLB's Find My Licensed Contractor feature to build and download a list of qualified licensed contractors in their area.

In addition, 43 individuals could face an additional 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.

Eleven people were also cited for not having workers' compensation (WC) insurance (Labor Code §3700.5), which puts workers at risk of not being covered if they are hurt on the job and exposes homeowners to liability for on-site injuries.

If contractors don't have employees, they must file a workers' compensation exemption with CSLB, which is noted on the license record. The exception is for roofing contractors, who must carry workers' compensation insurance, whether they work solo or have employees (who also must be covered).

Three others may be charged with requesting an illegally large down payment. California law (Business and Professions Code section 7159(a)(3)) states that a down payment cannot exceed $1,000 or 10% of the contract amount, whichever is less.

One individual was using a CSLB license number that did not belong to them. They face a penalty for fraudulent use of an incorrect license number (Business and Professions Code (BPC § 7027.3). Those interested in getting a contractor license are encouraged to attend one of our licensing workshops.

All suspects have been ordered to appear in court on various dates starting in February of 2020.

STING NOTES (By Location)

Placerville (El Dorado County)

  • 8 cases referred to District Attorney
  • Suspects due in court February 10, 2020

Carmel (Monterey County)

  • 6 cases referred to District Attorney
  • One suspect emailed bid using license number that did not belong to him
  • Suspects due in court February 25-26, 2020

Reseda (Los Angeles County)

  • 5 cases referred to District Attorney
  • Two repeat offenders cited in sting

San Bernardino (San Bernardino County)

  • 11 cases referred to District Attorney
  • 11 suspects may be cited for illegal advertising
  • Suspects due in court April 15-16, 2020

Bakersfield (Kern County)

  • 16 cases referred to District Attorney
  • 10 suspects may be cited for no workers' compensation
  • Suspects due in court February 11 & February 13, 2020

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

Placerville (El Dorado County) DAY 1 - December 10, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Julian Hernandez
Rio Linda
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Sammy Garcia Mirada
Sacramento
C-4 - Boiler, Hot Water Heating and Steam Fitting Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Cristi Lee Jones
Folsom
C-6 - Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Jose Gustavo Diaz Lopez
Sacramento
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
John Isaac Harrod
Placerville
C-2 - Insulation and Acoustical Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

Placerville (El Dorado County) DAY 2 - December 11, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Juan Alberto DeLaFuente
Sacramento
C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contractor Illegal advertising
Andrew Mario Purcell
Folsom
C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Aurelio Castro
Carmichael
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

Carmel (Monterey County) - DAY 1 - December 10, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
John Richard Palsma
Salinas
C-36 Plumbing Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, Fraudulent use of a license number, Excessive down payment
Oswaldo Trigueros Ramirez
Seaside
C-15 Flooring Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Alan Manuel Morales
Seaside
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, Excessive down payment

Carmel (Monterey County) - DAY 2 - December 11, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Jose Luis Mendoza Flores
Moss Landing
C-13 Fencing Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Derek Levett Fowler
Seaside
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, Excessive down payment
Sergio Armando Cruz Santiago
Hollister
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license

Reseda (Los Angeles County) - December 11, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Arley David Carter
Lancaster
"B" - General Building contractors Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Jorge Fernandez-Hernandez
Lancaster
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Jorge Larios-Garcia
Los Angeles
"B" - General Building contractors Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Francisco Alberto Guerrero Palafox
Pacoima
"B" - General Building contractors Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Edward Lynn Phillips
Toledo, Ohio
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

San Bernardino (San Bernardino County) - DAY 1 - December 11, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Juan Lopez Gomez
Riverside
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Everardo Rosalind Rendon Ambrosio
Pomona
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Siaosi Pahulu
Apple Valley
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Jesus Emmanuel Gutierre Castro
Murrieta
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Lorenzo Bacilio Francisco
Riverside
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Kenny Kaman Lam
Pomona
C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Robert Roger Al Gracia
Redlands
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

San Bernardino (San Bernardino County) DAY 2 - December 12, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Rodrigo Montano Solorio
Fountain Valley
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Isaac Hernandez
Corona
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Cristobal Jose Cristobal Diego
Homeland
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Sergio Camacho Gutierrez
Fontana
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

Bakersfield (Kern County) DAY 1 - December 10, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Jose Luis Ayala-Vazquez
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Eder Eligio Velazquez Peralta
Ontario
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Gerardo Campos Amador
Bakersfield
C-23 Ornamental Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Byron Rodolfo Alvarado
Bakersfield
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Eric Anthony
Bakersfield
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising
Maurice Legree
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising
Alejandro Guzman Tapia
Arvin
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising
Victor Farias Jr.
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license

Bakersfield (Kern County) DAY 2 - December 11, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Theodore William Forzetting
Bakersfield
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting without a license
Ryan Paul Lucero
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Luis Enrique Diaz Guillen
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Jose Luis Tevelan Mejia
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Daniel Benedict Cerna
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Francisco Javier Aguilar-Diaz
Bakersfield
C13 - Fencing Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Raymond Richard Parks Jr
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising, No workers' compensation
Tony Choate
Bakersfield
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 more than 285,000 contractors in California and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2018-2019, CSLB helped recover over $49 million in ordered restitution for consumers.


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