SIMI VALLEY - In an effort to protect consumers from losing out by unknowingly hiring illegal contractors, investigators from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) set up an undercover sting operation in the greater Los Angeles area August 10-11, 2016. During the two day sting, CSLB investigators cited 13 people suspected of contracting without a license.
Knowing where to look, investigators collected business cards from local home improvement stores and searched through online bulletin boards to find suspected unlicensed contractors. Once the targets were identified, they were invited to submit bids for painting, flooring, and masonry work on a single-family home near Sycamore Canyon in Simi Valley. Bids ranged from $1,500 for interior painting to $12,000 for exterior painting.
California contracting law prohibits unlicensed contractors from bidding for construction-related work valued at $500 or more in combined labor and material costs. All 13 suspects placed a bid above the legal amount. Each person was given a citation for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) section (§) 7028).
In addition, investigators issued three Stop Orders when they discovered the suspects did not have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees working on active construction projects. A Stop Order is a legal demand to cease all employee labor at a job site due to a violation of state law. CSLB issues this type of order when there are safety concerns or unlawful actions in progress.
"Consumers should always check CSLB's website to be sure the worker they are hiring for home improvement projects has been checked out by the state," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "If their name isn't there, don't hire them. Go one step further and be sure they have workers comp insurance if they are bringing someone with them to help with the job. CSLB investigators do a great job weeding out the illegal contractors, however, there is an abundance of them, so consumers should do their part, by checking, as well."