SACRAMENTO – Investigators with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) cited 14 people suspected of contracting without a license after the suspects placed bids for home improvement jobs at an undercover sting in Roseville.
With the assistance of Roseville police officers, investigators set up the sting at a single-family home near Santucci Park. Posing as homeowners, investigators invited suspected unlicensed contractors to bid on home improvement projects including painting, fencing, landscaping, and flooring. Bids ranged from $940 to $4,600, exceeding the $500 limit at which a state contractor’s license is required.
“Despite widespread publicity about these stings, and education about California contracting laws, individuals still contract without a license,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Investigators try to encounter these individuals before unsuspecting homeowners do.”
During the Roseville sting which was held March 21-22, 2017, 12people placed bids above the legal limit, which earned them a citation for contracting without a license. The penalty for a conviction is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
When Roseville police officers ran background checks on the suspects, they identified a registered sex offender and a suspect on probation for vehicle theft and selling methamphetamine.
CSLB investigators recognized two of the suspects as individuals they had cited in previous CSLB stings for contracting without a license. This time, one of these individuals tried to use a friend’s contractor license number, which resulted in a felony charge for using a license that did not belong to him. This carries a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment in state prison or county jail for up to one year, or both.
“Consumers take a huge risk when hiring unlicensed contractors to work on their homes,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “Contractors who are licensed by CSLB are required to pass thorough background checks and any disciplinary actions against them are disclosed on CSLB’s website.”
All 14 people caught during the sting received a citation for illegal advertising. California law requires unlicensed contractors to state in all advertising that they are not licensed. The penalty for that charge is a fine of $700 to $1,000.