On February 3rd, 2020

Undercover Sting Catches Unlicensed Contractors Soliciting Work in Paradise

SACRAMENTO –  On January 31, 2020, the Contractors  State License  Board (CSLB),  the  Butte  County  District  Attorney’s  Office, Paradise Police Department,  and  California Department  of  Insurance announced the results of a recently conducted  two-day undercover  sting  targeting those contracting without a license in the fire-ravaged community of Paradise.

During the operation, investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) invited suspected unlicensed contractors to a property overlooking Little Butte Creek.  The suspected unlicensed contractors came  to  the  property  and  gave  undercover  investigators  bids  for  jobs including fencing,  plumbing,  concrete  and  vegetation demolition,  and  excavation. Nine suspects  provided bids  ranging from  $600  to  $25,000.  In California, all  home improvement  jobs  from  damage  totaling  $500 or  more in  combined labor  and material  costs  must  be performed  by  a  licensed contractor.

Those nine and  three other  suspects  may  face a  charge of  illegal  advertising. Licensed contractors  must  display  their  license number  in all  advertisements;  unlicensed contractors  must  state  in their  ads  that  they  are not  licensed.

The cases will now be turned over to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

“Thank you to the agencies that are working to protect fire victims from further harm,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  “By conducting these stings, CSLB is getting the word out that consumers should be sure they are hiring licensed contractors, and unlicensed contractors should only be conducting work in which the job is no more than $500 labor and material combined.”

Homeowners take a huge risk when they hire unlicensed contractors. Most are not properly insured and likely don’t have the skills or knowledge to perform the work. Plus, recourse for homeowners is limited if an unlicensed contractor’s work is substandard or never completed.


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