Criminal behavior does not stop at the border, nor do our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are investigators with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Investigators saw the end result of a multi-faceted investigation on February 18, 2014, with the sentencing of Maico Merdinand Dimla.
Dimla, 42, teamed up with Luis Manuel Flores, 51, to scam people applying for CSLB licenses and those who had already obtained them.
In the summer of 2012, contractors applying for a state license reported they had been conned by people falsely representing themselves as CSLB employees. While in Tijuana, Flores and Dimla made up a fraudulent business and website with names similar to CSLB. The two contacted CSLB applicants and license holders telling them they needed test study guides, continuing education credits or licensing exams. The two collected money over the phone via credit cards. At least 50 people fell victim to this scam and were defrauded in amounts ranging from $98 to $250 each.
Flores was arrested in February 2013 while entering the United States at the California-Mexico border. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge and was ordered to 180 days in jail and five years of probation. Dimla was arrested last December, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to cheat/defraud another person of property and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
"These men scammed hard-working, law-abiding people out of money," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Their phone calls appeared as a Sacramento area code, making it seems as though they were calling from CSLB headquarters, yet they were in Tijuana. The CSLB investigators did a tremendous job tracking down these unscrupulous individuals. Their thorough investigative work garnered guilty pleas and jail time. I know these investigators take great pride in their work and it shows. Nicely done."