A convicted burglar, an arsonist, a drug user - are these the types of people you want working in and around your house and family on home improvement projects? People fitting those very profiles were bidding on home improvement jobs in January, but undercover investigators with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) put a stop to them and busted them for contracting without a license.
"They're contracting without a license for a reason," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "Whatever the reason, it can't be good for homeowners who are investing their trust and their hard-earned money and having these people in and around their home. Fortunately our CSLEA members with CSLB know how to track down these unlicensed contractors and are citing them."
CSLB investigators don't let weekends or holidays get in their way. They conduct their undercover stings any day of the week, year-round, up and down the state. January 22-23, 2015, they set up shop at a home in Madera. Acting as homeowners, they sought bids for work on fencing, painting and tree service. Twelve bogus contractors placed bids, four of them were repeat offenders, caught in previous CSLB stings.
January 28-29, 2015, CSLB investigators busted 13 on illegal contracting charges at a home in Artesia. This time around, investigators posing as homeowners were looking for plumbers, painters and pavers.
Also on January 29, 2015, CSLB investigators caught eight unlicensed contractors in a sting conducted in Corning. This sting shined a spotlight on the types of individuals who contract without a license. One suspect brought an employee to the sting operation and that employee was not covered by workers' compensation insurance. That employee was a parolee who had recently served seven years in prison for first-degree residential burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. Another suspect busted in this sting was on probation for arson, another was found with drug paraphernalia in his pocket.
"These stings are public safety and consumer protection at work," said Barcelona. "These investigators are working to keep unsuspecting consumers from harm. We would hope consumers would look at the CSLB website to verify the person they are hiring has been checked out by the State and has a license, but not everyone knows better. In addition to protecting consumers, CSLB investigators are also leveling the playing field for those contractors who truly know their trade and follow the letters of the law."