Sacramento Undercover Sting Targets Unlicensed Contractors Performing Fall Clean-up Jobs


Six Unlicensed Tree Service Contractors Among 17 Cited

SACRAMENTO- Autumn means falling leaves, hanging branches, and plenty of outdoor work for unlicensed contractors. An undercover sting in Sacramento last week caught six tree service contractors among the 17 performing unlicensed work, putting homeowners at risk.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the Sacramento County District Attorney's office partnered for the November 6-7, 2019, operation in a three-bedroom home in the Rosemont area.

In the operation, CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) members posed as homeowners, and invited alleged unlicensed contractors to place bids on home improvement work.

It wasn't only tree service contractors caught in the sting. Over the two-day period, unlicensed contractors showed-up to give undercover investigators bids for jobs including landscaping, drywall installation, doors, demolition, fencing, and laminate flooring.

They provided bids ranging from $550 to $7,500, which are over the legal limit for contracting without a license. In California, it's illegal for an unlicensed person to bid for or perform any home improvement valued at $500 or more in combined labor and material costs.

Seventeen suspects could now face a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) §7028(b)). First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

Of those cited, 15 individuals could also 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.

"Homeowners often use the internet to find contractors," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "If they don't see a contractor license number on the online posting, chances are the individual they want to hire is unlicensed. Unlicensed work can be of poor quality, leading to more problems down the road for homeowners."

Consumers can perform an "Instant License Check" on a contractor 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 the Rosemont sting, four contractors asked for an excessive down payment before starting work, which is also a violation of law. It's illegal to ask for a down payment that's more than 10 percent of the total contract price, or $1,000, whichever is less (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)).

One suspect did not carry workers' compensation (WC) insurance policies to cover those working for them (Labor Code section 3700.5). If a contractor does not have workers' compensation insurance, it can be very costly for the homeowner, since they may be liable if an employee gets hurt on their property.

All suspects were ordered to appear in court on January 15-16, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. at the Sacramento County Superior Court, 720 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (MAP).

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

SACRAMENTO - DAY 1 - NOVEMBER 6
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Clayton Terry Connitt
Sacramento
C-61/D49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Devin Jon McDermott
Elk Grove
C-61/D49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting without a license
Roberto Lopez Marmoleio
Dixon
C-61/D49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Timothy Fries
Sacramento
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising & Excessive Down Payment
Jeremiah Joel Olmstead
Elk Grove
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Gerado Perez Bermudez
Sacramento
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Thomas William Henderson
Sacramento
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Jessie Salazar Rodriguez
Galt
C-61/D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Amner David Velasco Moreno
Sacramento
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising & Excessive Down Payment
Julian Kent Padilla
Rancho Cordova
C-61/D-28 Doors, Gates Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising & Excessive Down Payment
SACRAMENTO - DAY 2 - NOVEMBER 7
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Jennifer Beth Diaz
Orangevale
C-61/D49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising & No Workers' Compensation
Wilfredo Vladimir Medoza Galvez
Rancho Cordova
C-61/D49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Corinthisus King
Sacramento
C-21 Building Moving/Demolition Contractor Contracting without a license, Illegal advertising & Excessive Down Payment
Gabriel Ernesto Marez
Sacramento
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Zachary S. Traynor
Antelope
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Thomas Earl Williams
Vallejo
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting without a license
Adonai Sinai Hendriquez
Sacramento
C-15 Flooring 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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