Unlicensed Contractors and Revoked Licensee Feel CSLB’s Sting in San Diego County


Twenty-Six referred to District Attorney for possible criminal prosecution

SACRAMENTO – Unlicensed contractors who don’t play by the rules and put consumers at risk, make life very difficult for licensed contractors in San Diego County. Recently one licensed contractor decided to do something about it.

The contractor helped the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) secure a property in El Cajon for an undercover sting operation. The sting led to CSLB catching more than two dozen suspected unlicensed contractors.

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) partnered with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for the operation, conducted on August 13-14, 2019. As a result, 26 individuals are being referred to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office; several of whom have been disciplined in the past for contracting without a license or have been previously licensed and should know better.

SWIFT investigators posed as owners of a single-family home under construction in Harbison Canyon; in other words, a “blank slate” in obvious need of contracting work. They contacted suspected unlicensed contractors from online advertisements or from previous CSLB investigations and were invited to the property to provide bids for work.

Bids received during the operation included concrete flatwork and pavers, drywall, flooring, landscaping, painting, plastering, plumbing, tile flooring, epoxy floor coverings, garage door and equipment installation and automatic gate installation. They ranged from $1,600 for plumbing to $125,000 for landscaping; well above the $500 threshold for when a state contractor’s license is required. The suspects could now face a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license (Business & Professions Code (BPC) §7028). First conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. A second conviction carries a mandatory 90 days in jail. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation.

One of the suspects, Roberto Cordero Jr., provided a bid for $950 for labor only to install a tankless water heater. The problem is that CSLB revoked Cordero’s license back in 2000 for poor workmanship, failing to pay for materials and/or services, abandoning the project and exceeding the contract amount; reasons that made CSLB’s decision to revoke his license an easy one.

Because Cordero provided a bid for work requiring a license and is a revoked contractor, he could face charges with stricter penalties including fines up to $10,000 and up to one year in county jail (Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section (§) 7028(e)).

Twenty of the suspects could also face an additional misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising, for neglecting to state in their ads they were not licensed (BPC § 7027.1). Advertisements for unlicensed contractors must state that they are not a state-licensed contractor and the type of jobs advertised must be worth less than $500.

Two suspects portrayed themselves as licensed contractors by using a license number belonging to another; a serious charge that could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to one year in jail (BPC § 7027.3).

"Someone contracting illegally and using a revoked license number knows the rules and is clearly abusing important laws by continuing to solicit for work," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “By checking a license first, homeowners could also have peace-of-mind knowing their contractor can be held accountable should there be any property damage, or if the work gets left unfinished; CSLB will be here to help.” Consumers can also use the "Find My Licensed Contractor" feature to download and/or print a list of qualified licensed contractors in their area.

Lastly, one of the suspects had an outstanding fine from a previous administrative citation and will be required to pay the county treasurer (BPC § 7028.17).

The court dates for the suspects are currently pending.

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


EL CAJON DAY 1 – AUGUST 13, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Alejandro Salazar
San Diego
C-61/D-12 Synthetic Products Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Robert Lee Roth
Menifee
C-61/D-12 Synthetic Products Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Denny Manzo
Lakeside
C-35 Lathing and Plastering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Javier Reyes
National City
C-9 Drywall Contractor, C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising, Failure to Comply with Citation
John Aurelio Alcazar
Chula Vista
C-61/D-28 Doors, Gates and Activating Devices Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Robaia "Raby" Rahmoune
La Mesa
C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Donald Dean Roberts
Vista
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising, Fraudulent Use of Incorrect License Number
Jairo Herrera
Chula Vista
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Raul Bustos
Garden Grove
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License
Josue Abraham Sanders Williams
Chula Vista
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Thanh Hong Dam
San Diego
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising, Fraudulent Use of Incorrect License Number
Rory Lyles Ray
El Cajon
C-35 Lathing and Plastering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

DAY 2 – AUGUST 14, 2019

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
John Rochine Huesca
National City
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License
Brian Terry
Boulevard
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Monica Flores Okhuysen
Chula Vista
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Carlos Omar Navarrete
Chula Vista
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Juan Pedro Talavera
National City
C-35 Lathing and Plastering Contractor Contracting Without a License
Jose Alfredo Ramirez
San Diego
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
John Rossano
San Diego
C-61/D-12 Synthetic Products Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Frank Valencia
Spring Valley
C-61/D-28 Doors, Gates and Activating Devices Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Shahram Rezaei
San Diego
C-9 Drywall Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Robert Cordero Jr.
El Cajon
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting Without a License
Ruben Ponce Martinez
Bonita
C-27 Landscaping Contracting Without a License
Scot Wesly Welish
San Diego
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Tomas Alfredo Camacho
San Diego
C-61/D-28 Doors, Gates and Activating Devices Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Rodolfo Vargas Trujillo
San Diego
C-35 Lathing and Plastering Contractor Contracting Without a License

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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