Painters Arrested in Sweep
Ten California-based contractors, including seven painters, have been arrested and charged in the state’s latest undercover sting to crack down on unlicensed operators.
The roundup, led by the Contractors State License Board’s Investigative Fraud Team, was conducted June 17, in Freemont, CA. The agency conducts several such stings statewide each year.
The suspects nabbed in the latest sting provided bids for exterior painting, fencing and concrete work at a residence where investigators posed as homeowners.
Bids submitted ranged from $1,500 for redwood fencing to $75,000 to fill in and cover an in-ground swimming pool at the sting home, according to the CSLB.
The investigators said many of the suspects traveled more than an hour to provide their bids.
The CSLB reported that all 10 of the suspects were cited for contracting without a license. In California, all home improvement jobs valued at $500 or more (combined labor and material costs) must be performed by a person or company with a CSLB-issued license.
The penalty for a conviction is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
The contractors were also charged with illegal advertising. State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license may advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor.
The penalty is a fine of $700 to $1,000.
The suspects received notices to appear July 21 in Alameda County Superior Court.
$140B Underground Economy
“Arresting 10 suspects in a one-day sting should serve as a reminder that property owners must stay vigilant to avoid this problem,” CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said in a statement.
“Illegal contractors contribute to California’s $140 billion underground economy. They often underbid and take work from licensed, well-trained contractors who play by the rules.”
The CSLB licenses and regulates California’s 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States.