MONTEREY - On August 28, 2018, Jose Maria Lopez Sarabia, 34, of Watsonville pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license and failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance for his employees and was sentenced to 3 years’ probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
The criminal charges against Lopez stemmed from a joint sting operation conducted by the California Contractors’ State Licensing Board (CSLB) and the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office on June 20 and 21, 2018. The sting operation targeted suspects who were falsely marketing themselves as licensed contractors.
“CSLB has made it public knowledge that investigators conduct these undercover stings on a routine basis, and yet unlicensed contractors continue to operate illegally all throughout California,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “These unlicensed contractors are putting consumers at risk and are hurting contractors who have taken the tests and background checks to become licensed by the state.”
During the sting, a CSLB investigator posed as a Monterey homeowner and met with various suspects who placed bids for work that required a contractor license. On June 21, 2018, Lopez arrived at this home where he made a $5,600 bid for work and labor on a kitchen remodel. The bid was more than $500 which is an amount that requires a licensed contractor. Lopez received a citation for unlicensed contracting. In addition, he was charged with failing to have workers’ compensation insurance.
This case was investigated by the Contractors State Licensing Board with assistance from District Attorney Investigative Captain Ryan McGuirk.