Contractors State License Board's Davis Sting Nets Nine Alleged Unlicensed Contractors, Including Two Repeat Offenders


Suspects make illegal bids up to $11,000 for home improvement work

SACRAMENTO - The vast majority of those caught in a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) undercover sting operation either get their state contractors license, or find another line of work. But, two unlicensed contractors trying to get work in Yolo County apparently didn't learn their lesson and got caught a second time.

Those two, and seven other suspected unlicensed contractors were cited in the January 28-29, 2020 undercover sting at a home in Davis. CSLB partnered with the Yolo County District Attorney's Office and the Davis Police Department to conduct the operation.

The repeat offenders, Gerald Lynn Kelly and Jorge Eduardo Maradiegue Ramos, were both cited in Sacramento County last summer 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. Their cases are pending with the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.

After being ensnared in this latest sting, Kelly and Ramos 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)). The other seven suspects face the first-time conviction penalties.

All nine 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.

"Consumers should always look for a contractor's license number on all ads, whether they're reading an internet ad posting, or reading a contractor's business card," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "Then, check the license on our website to get a lot of information about that contractor."

Consumers can use that contractor's license number to check their license status with an "Instant License Check" in a matter of seconds on CSLB's website. If the license number isn't available, consumers can also check a contractor's license by searching their name, or business name. The search results reveal whether the contractor's license is active and in good standing, gives insurance and bond information, and tells you if CSLB has taken any actions against the contractor's license.

In the Davis operation, CSLB Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) members posed as owners of a three-bedroom residence and invited alleged unlicensed contractors to place bids on home improvement work.

Over the two-day period, alleged unlicensed contractors showed-up to give bids for jobs including concrete, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, laminate flooring installation and exterior house painting.

A pair of suspects each bid up to $11,000 to lay concrete slabs and walkways for the sting property. 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.

"The Yolo County District Attorney's Office recognizes the need to keep the playing field even for local contractors and businesses," said Yolo County District Attorney Investigator Paul Hillegass. "The DA does this by partnering with CSLB in conducting unlicensed contractor stings to hold dishonest contractors accountable and make sure that if businesses have employees that they are covered by workers' compensation insurance."

If contractors bring employees to help them out on a job, those contractors need workers' compensation insurance in case an employee is injured. If a contractor doesn't carry workers' comp, a homeowner may be liable if the employee gets hurt on their property. Workers' compensation insurance information is listed on the contractor's individual webpage on CSLB's website.

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.

All suspects will be notified when they will need to appear at the Yolo County Superior Court, 1000 Main Street, Woodland, CA 95695 (MAP).

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

DAY 1 - JANUARY 28, 2020

SUSPECT NAMECITY OF RESIDENCE LICENSECLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Carlos Ruiz Prestegui
Sacramento
B General Building Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, excessive down payment
Oscar Rodriguez Archiniega
Sacramento
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising, excessive down payment
Elton Jiron Padilla
Sacramento
C-8 - Concrete Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Gerald Lynn Kelly
Sacramento
C-15 - Flooring Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Jorge Eduardo Maradiegue Ramos
Sacramento
C-33 Painting Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Mikhail G. Kuznetsov
Antelope
B General Building Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising

DAY 2 - JANUARY 29, 2020

SUSPECT NAMECITY OF RESIDENCE LICENSECLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Elias Antonio Alvarenga Hernandez
Elk Grove
B General Building Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Stanislav Shavlovsky
Sacramento
B General Building Contractor Contracting without a license, illegal advertising
Igor Muntean
Carmichael
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 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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