PARADISE – On January 19, 2022, a multi-agency investigation involving Butte County District Attorney investigators, Paradise Police officers and the California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB), led to multiple felony arrests of unlicensed contractors operating on the Paradise Ridge.
The Butte County District Attorney’s Office has been working with several state and local agencies after receiving complaints of unlicensed contractor activity occurring on the Ridge. In the aftermath of the Camp Fire, the town of Paradise has seen an obvious increase in contractor activity.
The operation focused on unlicensed activity, and led to the arrest of four individuals who held themselves out to be contractors, but are not licensed through the state.
- Gustavo Noriega, 30, of Live Oak was arrested for contracting without a license and released on $15,000 bail
- Josiah Westby, 35, of Paradise was arrested for contracting without a license and released on $15,000 bail.
- Zachary Green, 36, of Oroville was arrested for contracting without a license and later cited to appear.
All three are scheduled to appear in Butte County Superior Court April 8, 2022. None have any record of holding a contractor’s license.
- Terry Sumpter, 43, of Corning was arrested for contracting without a license, two counts of possession of controlled substance, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Sumpter remains in jail in lieu of $22,000 bail. Sumpter has never held a contractor’s license.
Unlicensed contractors often leave their clients with poor quality work, or in some instances, no work at all. Licensed contractors are required to have a bond to commit to completion of their work. Unlicensed contractors, who do not pay worker’s compensation insurance and other fees, are able to underbid licensed contractors, who are following the law.
“The victims of the Camp Fire have been through so much and are likely working to get their lives and property back to some version of what was normal,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Unlicensed contractors are not the answer and these operations targeting them is working to protect consumers.”