“These sweeps and stings are carried out to educate consumers and to enforce contracting laws that are in place to protect those who hire people for home improvement or construction projects. Licensed contractors have been tested regarding their knowledge, they have passed background checks and carry insurance.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SACRAMENTO- On June 30, 2022, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) announced the results of a series of CSLB statewide undercover stings and sweeps to find and put a stop to unlicensed contracting activity in the state. During operations 142 legal actions were taken, primarily for unlicensed and uninsured practice.
UNDERCOVER STINGS: From June 6-24, 2022, CSLB partnered with local law enforcement to conduct three undercover sting operations in South Lake Tahoe, Salinas, and Redding. Undercover stings involve investigators contacting suspects through their advertisements.
The suspected unlicensed operators came to the sting locations to place bids on projects including ceramic and mosaic tile, concrete, deck work, fencing, flooring, landscaping, painting, plumbing, tree services, and sheet metal. As a result, a total of 40 legal actions were filed and 32 people are subject to misdemeanor criminal charges for contracting without a license. Unlicensed contractors can face penalties of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $15,000 if they bid or contract for work valued at more than $500.
SWEEP OPERATIONS: 53 sweep operations of construction sites were also conducted in Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura counties. These operations resulted in 102 legal actions against licensed and unlicensed contractors. Twenty-six of the legal actions were for unlicensed contracting and 38 Stop Orders were issued which halted all employee labor at active job sites where contractors did not have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
The enforcement actions were part of a nationwide effort coordinated by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies designed to make consumers aware of the importance of hiring licensed contractors and the risks of using unlicensed operators.
During the stings and sweeps, six individuals were also cited for requesting an excessive down payment. In California, a home improvement project down payment can’t exceed 10-percent of the contract total or $1,000, whichever is less. This misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.