In an effort to protect consumers from harm, both financial and physical, investigators from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) teamed up with local law enforcement agencies in nine counties and went undercover as homeowners seeking bids for home improvement projects.
The stings took place March 25-27, 2014 in Bass Lake (Madera County), Clovis (Fresno County), Dana Point (Orange County), Hanford (Kings County), Palos Verdes Estates (Los Angeles County), Sacramento (Sacramento County), San Jose (Santa Clara County), Vista (San Diego County), and Woodland (Yolo County).
The result? Investigators arrested 121 people, including repeat offenders, on suspicion of contracting without a license. Among those arrested was a man who is awaiting trial on an assault with a deadly weapon charge and someone who was caught in not one, but two different CSLB stings.
"The work of CSLB investigators may often go unnoticed among the general population, but they act daily to protect families and to protect consumers," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) which represents CSLB investigators. "Unlicensed contractors can hurt families financially and they have no background checks. You simply don't know who you are inviting into your home and whether you can trust them to do the job right and at a fair price."
The investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids for home improvements such as painting, drywall, landscaping, decking, cabinets, flooring, fencing, masonry, concrete, and tree removal work.
CSLB investigators busted one suspect, Martin Villegas, of North Highlands, twice in two days. Villegas was cited in the Sacramento sting one day and placed a bid at a second sting in nearby Woodland the very next day.
Suspect Jeffrey Daniel Jimenez, caught in the Clovis sting, is actually a licensed contractor, but his license (#849108) was suspended last September after he failed to reimburse his bond company for a $1,700 payout it made to a consumer.