"State investigators routinely work with local district attorneys' offices to conduct undercover stings which help to identify and arrest unlicensed contractors. These unlicensed contractors have not passed background checks or the necessary tests to show they know how to properly conduct their work, which puts consumers at risk." - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – On March 10, 2023, Adan Contreras Rivas, 42, of Modesto was sentenced to seven years and eight months in state prison after he was convicted in February of multiple felonies and misdemeanors related to unlicensed contracting, fraud, theft, and failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
Rivas was on the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) Most Wanted list.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed an initial complaint against Rivas in March 2022 following an investigation into his actions that led to his eventual arrest. He was released on his own recognizance.
Rivas was invited to a sting CSLB conducted in October 2022 with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance targeting unlicensed contractors. He didn’t show up for his scheduled appointment but sent his parents instead to ask for a bid. This assisted investigators in contacting Rivas.
Rivas was arrested again in November 2022 for posing as a licensed contractor in the landscaping industry and stealing thousands of dollars from unsuspecting consumers.
Prior to his offenses in Contra Costa County, Rivas had served time in state prison for several related felony and misdemeanor convictions for grand theft, theft from an elder, and contracting without a license in Santa Clara County.
Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton noted after Rivas’ conviction in February, “My office is protecting consumers in the county by partnering with multiple government agencies like the Contractors State License Board and the California Department of Insurance. This partnership has been effective in conducting undercover sting operations as well as investigating unlicensed contractors who fail to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.”
CSLB Registrar David Fogt cautioned that unlicensed contractors pose a threat to consumers by failing to demonstrate minimum experience qualifications by obtaining a contractor’s license. Some unlicensed contractors illegally request excessive down payments for construction or landscaping projects and frequently fail to begin or complete projects once they receive money.
Consumers are often unaware unlicensed contractors have not completed background checks and usually do not carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees – which increases liability risks to consumers.