Summer 2018       |      David Fogt, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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From CSLB's Enforcement File

A CSLB Most Wanted Suspect Pleads Guilty

Adan Rivas, who spent months on CSLB's "Most Wanted" list, has begun serving a lengthy sentence at San Quentin state prison.

Rivas was added to the Most Wanted list for victimizing consumers in Contra Costa County. He and his sisters solicited landscaping work in affluent neighborhoods, often targeting elderly homeowners. They would collect hefty down payments and money for materials but would then abandon the jobs after doing little or no work.

With the Contra Costa District Attorney closing in, Rivas moved his criminal operations to Santa Clara County under a different name.

Rivas was eventually taken into custody in Medford, Oregon, brought back to California, and charged with 25 counts of financial elder abuse, grand theft, larceny, unlicensed contracting, and failure to provide workers' compensation insurance.

Last September Rivas pled guilty to eight of the 25 counts against him and was sentenced to five years and eight months in state prison.

"The Perfect Yard" Was Anything But "Perfect": Suspect Arrested During CSLB Sting Operation

A suspected unlicensed contractor advertising online in Sonoma County as "The Perfect Yard" and "The Best of the West Landscapes" now faces four felonies and seven misdemeanors.

Tony Van Dang, 30, of Santa Rosa was arrested without incident by CSLB and detectives from the Santa Rosa Police Department's Property Crimes Investigations Unit.

The charges came after three separate homeowners complained to CSLB that Dang's work was neither "perfect" nor "the best".

In fact, it was alleged that Dang took more than $26,500 from homeowners, provided minimal landscaping work, and then abandoned his jobs. It was also alleged that Dang was not paying his workers and bounced at least one check to a materials supplier.

The felony charges against Dang include diversion of construction funds and fraudulent use of a contractor license, the latter charge based on Dang's use of someone else's license number in his ads without the licensee's knowledge.

Dang was taken into custody in late January 2018, after being invited by a CSLB investigator to discuss a potential landscaping job. When Dang arrived, he was immediately arrested.

Swimming Pool Contractor Facing Pending Criminal Charges

In Imperial County, a C-53 (Swimming Pool) contractor is facing 10 felonies and 15 misdemeanors, including grand theft and diversion of construction funds.

In late 2016, CSLB began receiving complaints against T&T Pools of Calexico. The allegations included: requiring excessive deposits and advance payments and leaving jobs unfinished. The estimated financial injuries to five homeowners totaled $66,500.

CSLB's investigation led to the revocation of owner Adan Torres' license in November 2017, and a criminal complaint filed by the Imperial County District Attorney's Office the next month. The criminal case is now pending.

Revoked Licensee Again Revoked for Five Years

A contractor whose license had been revoked three times in the last 16 years, has been given the strongest administrative penalty possible.

Panfilio Armas, owner of American Roofing Company, has a long history with CSLB's Enforcement division, including:

Unfortunately, the revocations barely slowed Armas down. A few weeks after his November 2010 revocation, a license with a different name and address was changed to American Roofing Company with Armas' address.

Armas filed for bankruptcy in November 2014, which "resolved" the outstanding judgments that were part of his 2010 license revocation. The day after filing bankruptcy Armas applied for reinstatement of his license. Since CSLB no longer had an active cause for denying that request, CSLB reissued Armas' license in January 2015.

After receiving a new complaint, CSLB investigators were able to piece together Armas' continued illegal activities, including the misuse of a license shortly after the 2010 revocation. That licensee admitted to investigators that he turned over his license to Armas and later qualified a corporate license, even though he wasn't actively involved with the company.

Last December, the American Roofing licenses were revoked for a third time. In his decision, the Administrative Law Judge prohibited Armas from applying for reissuance or reinstatement of a contractor license for five years, the maximum period allowed.

Unlicensed and Deceitful Individual Spends Two Years in State Prison

Unlicensed contractor Salomon Calderon Medina, 54, of Greenfield will spend the next two years and 180 days in state prison for burglary, unlicensed contracting, and not having workers' compensation insurance.

An elderly couple gave evidence that Medina solicited for work in a grocery store parking lot without disclosing that he did not have a state issued license. The couple hired Medina to do a bathroom remodel for $3,600; in turn Medina did not complete the task.

The couple reported Medina to the Monterey County District Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit, who referred the case to CSLB. As a result, CSLB conducted an undercover sting operation in Monterey in June 2017, to catch Medina in the act of illegal contracting.

During the undercover operation, Medina bid $2,600 for painting the exterior of the home. The bid landed him with a notice to appear in court for three violations of California contracting law.

In August, the District Attorney's Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit filed felony charges for residential burglary and misdemeanor charges for unlicensed contacting and not having workers' compensation coverage. In March 2018, Medina pled guilty to the burglary and the two misdemeanor charges.

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