Sting Nets Painters, Concrete Workers


Thirty-six painters, 17 concrete contractors and 30 other home-improvement contractors have been charged with running unlicensed businesses after they were caught this month in a California Contractors State License Board sting operation, known as the “Spring Blitz.”

Members of CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team posed as property owners and took bids on projects that included painting, flooring, concrete, fencing, plumbing and roofing.

When the suspects offered bids over $500, they were arrested and given a Notice to Appear for contracting without a license. California law requires a state contractor’s license for home-improvement jobs that are valued at $500 or more in material and labor.

The penalty for a first conviction is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

One of the suspects nabbed in the sting submitted a $27,700 bid for a concrete project.

6 Cities, 83 Suspects

Investigators conducted the stings April 5-7 in six cities, including Bakersfield, Yuba City and Salinas. Authorities issued citations against 83 off-the-books operators. Several suspects had been caught in previous stings, including one repeat offender who had $60,000 in outstanding warrants related to a previous sting operation and the failure to appear in court on those misdemeanor charges.

“We find that sting operations are the most effective way to gauge the level of illegal contracting in an area, and send a message to those contracting without a license,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson.

“Unfortunately, despite our year-round efforts to deter this illegal activity, unlicensed contractors still think they can beat the system and do work that they’re not qualified for.”


California law requires a state contractor’s license for home-improvement jobs that are valued at $500 or more in material and labor.

Of the 83 cited, 69 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 can advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor. Violators can be fined $700 to $1,000.

Nearly a dozen were cited for the failure to have workers’ compensation insurance.

The CSLB says the blitz total may increase as some suspects are expected to provide bids at later date via text, e-mail or fax.

Unlicensed operators are also part of a multi-billion dollar underground economy that takes jobs away from legitimate contractors and tax dollars from schools, roads and law enforcement, according to the CSLB.

Christenson warns that the office is planning more stings and construction site inspections this year and urges homeowners and business owners to check the license status of those they are considering to hire via CSLB’s website.


Tagged categories: Certifications and standards; Citations; Contractors; Contractors State License Board; Criminal acts; Ethics; Licensing; Maintenance + Renovation; North America

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