Contractors State License Board's Union City Sting Snares 16 Alleged Unlicensed Contractors, Including One Repeat Offender


Suspects make illegal bids up to $30,000 for home improvement work

SACRAMENTO - East Bay homeowners researching Spring renovation projects should remember to call licensed contractors. A Contractors State License Board (CSLB) undercover sting in Union City this past week snared sixteen alleged unlicensed contractors, with one suspect making a $30,000 bid.

The highest bid of the February 4-5, 2020 operation came from Taynara Bueno de Sousa-Melo. She offered a bid of $30,000 for a combination asphalt and paver project. That is well 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.

Bueno de Sousa-Melo and fifteen other alleged unlicensed contractors gave bids for home improvement jobs, including general building, electrical, plumbing, fencing, HVAC, concrete, earthwork and carpentry. They will be referred to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for 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.

CSLB partnered with the Alameda County D.A.'s office and the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Division of Investigation (DOI) to conduct the undercover operation. CSLB Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) members posed as owners of a four-bedroom residence and invited alleged unlicensed contractors to place bids on home improvement work.

One repeat offender was among those caught in the operation. Eddy Amdrocio was cited for illegal contracting after a San Leandro sting last November. That case is pending with the Alameda County D.A.'s Office. After being ensnared in this latest sting, Amdrocio could face a more severe second conviction penalty, which could result in a mandatory 90 days in jail, and a fine of 20 percent of the contract price or $5,000, whichever is greater (BPC §7028(c)).

Two individuals cited for illegal contracting were incorrectly using a CSLB license number or using a 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.

One of the suspects did not carry workers' compensation (WC) insurance policies to cover those working for them (Labor Code section 3700.5).

"Consumers make a huge gamble if they hire unlicensed contractors," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "Without workers' compensation insurance, a homeowner may be liable if an unlicensed contractor's employee gets hurt on their property."

If contractors bring employees to help them out on a job, those contractors need workers' compensation insurance in case an employee is injured. Workers' compensation insurance information can easily be found on CSLB's website using the "Instant License Check" feature.

Consumers can check a contractor's license by searching their license number, name, or business name. Besides workers' comp information, the search results also reveal whether the contractor's license is active and in good standing. The contractor's individual page also lists bond information, and if CSLB has taken any actions against the contractor's license.

Two suspects may also be charged with asking for an excessive down payment (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)). The legal limit for a down payment is 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is lower.

As a reminder, consumers should always get three bids from licensed contractors before hiring anyone to perform home improvement work.

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

Thirteen individuals also could face a misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising. 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.

All suspects were ordered to appear at the East County Hall of Justice between May 12-14, 5149 Gleason Drive, Dublin, CA 94568 (MAP).

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

UNION CITY DAY 1 - FEBRUARY 4, 2020

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Josefo Lolesio Vaturei
Hayward
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting without a license
Eddy Amdrocio
Oakland
C-36 - Plumbing Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Rigaberto Matias Mendoz
Oakland
C-10 - Electrical Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Mariano Montejano Guitierrez
Oakland
C-13 - Fencing Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Micah Luchetti
Oakland
C-12 Earthwork Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Ceferino Sapon Cocon
Hayward
C-36 Plumbing Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Ivan Sanchez
Hayward
C-5 Carpentry Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

UNION CITY DAY 2 - FEBRUARY 5, 2020

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
David Antonio Cruz Aguilar
Hayward
B General Building Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Singh Nirmal
Tracy
B General Building Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Vinh Tran
Newark
C-13 - Fence Contractor Contracting without a license
Daljit Singh
Hayward
C-10 Electrical Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Donny Edward Costa
Dublin
C-8 Concrete Acting as contractor under inactive or suspended license
Juan Carlos Amador-Munoz
Hayward
C-20 HVAC Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, Excessive Down Payment
Taynara Bueno de Sousa-Melo
Richmond
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license, illegal advertising. Fraudulent use of incorrect license number
David Alberto Ramirez Mazariegos
Santa Clara
B- General Building Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, No Workers' Compensation
Julio Cesar Lopez
Oakland
B - General Building Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, Excessive Down Payment, Fraudulent use of incorrect license number

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 2018-2019, CSLB helped recover over $49 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

CSLB Media Contacts

Rick Lopes
Chief of Public Affairs
916.255.4161
rick.lopes@cslb.ca.gov

Kevin Durawa
Information Officer
916.255.4693
kevin.durawa@cslb.ca.gov


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