In an effort to protect unsuspecting consumers who hire unlicensed contractors to work in and around their homes on improvement projects, investigators with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) went undercover in Bakersfield on October 16, 2013.
The investigators posed as homeowners and asked nearly two dozen people who advertised as contractors to give bids for home improvement projects such as painting, tree services, landscaping, brick and concrete work.
The result? Investigators arrested 15 men suspected of contracting without a license.
Of those 15:
- 2 had active arrest warrants
- 3 had prior convictions or were on probation for unlicensed contracting
- 9 asked for excessive down payments
- 13 did not have workers' comp insurance coverage for employees
- 15 failed to state they were not a licensed contractor in their advertisements
"These are not the type of workers you want at your home and around your family," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "So many homeowners are unaware of the risks involved in hiring a contractor not licensed by the State of California. Our CSLEA members working at CSLB and the Department of Insurance help to protect consumers by conducting these stings on a very routine basis. They rarely come up empty handed."
The 15 suspects arrested face possible fines and/or jail time if convicted.