Seven Stings Net 85 Contractors
Undercover investigators in California have nabbed 85 suspected unlicensed contractors, including 27 painters, in simultaneous sting operations across seven cities.
The Contractors State License Board executed the two-day statewide sting, known as the annual spring “California Blitz,” on March 10 and 11.
Cities targeted were Bakersfield, Gardena, Ione, Madera, Rancho Mirage, San Diego and Tracy.
CSLB investigators partnered with local law-enforcement agencies to pose as homeowners inviting the operators to bid on various construction jobs, including painting, landscaping, flooring, electrical, concrete and tree removal work, the board said.
Suspects who turned out to have serious criminal backgrounds were targeted because of ads they had posted on craigslist.org, local fliers, business cards, and complaints to CSLB and local government agencies, according to the board.
The CSLB posted a video of the series of stings here.
Suspects caught in the stings included 12 repeat offenders, one with an active arrest warrant, and four on probation.
One of the contractors’ licenses had been revoked by the CSLB in 2011. Nevertheless, the contractor submitted a $2,500 painting bid, CSLB said.
Suspects who turned out to have serious criminal backgrounds had been targeted because of ads on craigslist, local fliers, business cards, and complaints to CSLB and local government agencies.
The suspects will face misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license and, in many cases, illegal advertising, soliciting excessive down payments, and failure to have workers’ compensation insurance for employees, the board said.
Under California law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more for labor and materials must be licensed by CSLB. The penalty for a first conviction is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
The board provided the following breakdown of the cities and number of individuals facing charges.
The Blitz Goals
With the “California Blitz,” the agency seeks to draw attention to the dangers consumers risk when they hire unlicensed contractors; to educate unlicensed workers about California laws; and to encourage those who qualify to get their license.
Legitimate, licensed contractors face unfair competition from illegal operators who skirt laws that protect homeowners and workers, CSLB says.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.