“CSLB investigators do an outstanding job investigating complaints against suspected unlicensed contractors and work to protect California consumers.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
STANISLAUS COUNTY - As the result of a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigation, a Stanislaus County judge has sentenced an unlicensed contractor to jail and probation and ordered him to pay nearly $284,000 in restitution to the homeowner victimized.
On March 20, 2023, Adam Marcus Soares was sentenced to 10 days in county jail and one year of probation after he entered a plea of no contest to one count of contracting without a license.
This sentencing closes a case that began with an August 2020 consumer complaint to CSLB. Soares completed an interior remodeling job with the help of eight unlicensed subcontractors, but the homeowner decided to stop making payments after discovering that some of the work had not been built to applicable codes. Soares operated a business known as Marcus Renee Designs and represented himself as a commercial and residential designer and builder despite not having a contractor’s license.
CSLB’s investigation into the complaint revealed findings of financial injury to the consumer in the amount of nearly $222,000.
Expert inspection of the property determined that the value of work Soares provided on the project was less than half of what the victim paid and repairing the property to industry standards would cost more than $173,690.
In February 2021, CSLB referred the investigation to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office (DA’s Office) for criminal prosecution, and in May of that year the DA’s Office filed the case in Stanislaus Superior Court.
Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Amy Neumann, who prosecuted the case, stated, “We are pleased that Mr. Soares was held accountable for falsely representing himself as possessing construction skills and expertise to vulnerable consumers.”
CSLB Registrar David Fogt cautions 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.