On September 13th, 2023

Undercover Sting Operation Identifies Suspected Unlicensed Contractors in Sutter County

“We appreciate the work of state and local investigators who target unlicensed contractors in an effort to protect homeowners from financial harm and potential shoddy home improvement work.  Unlicensed contractors may not have the experienced required, have not passed a state background check, and may be bringing to the job site workers who are not covered by workers’ comp insurance.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

YUBA CITY - On September 7, 2023, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) announced the results of a two-day undercover operation conducted in Yuba City in August.  The operation targeted unlicensed contractors and resulted in the identification of multiple individuals suspected of engaging in illegal contracting practices.

In carrying out the sting operation, CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) coordinated efforts with Sutter County District Attorney investigators and the Yuba City Police Department through the Yolo County Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit. Suspected unlicensed contractors were invited to submit proposals for various construction projects at a specified location.   As a result of this operation, 11 individuals were served notices to appear in criminal court and may now face legal repercussions, including fines and a potential jail sentence.  All individuals implicated submitted bids surpassing the legal threshold of $500 for contracting without a license, with amounts ranging from $1,000 for painting to $13,500 for concrete work. California law prohibits bidding and/or contracting for construction work exceeding $500 in value, including labor and supplies.

The suspects could also face additional charges for illegal advertisements. Licensed contractors are required to include their license number on all business-related materials (such as advertisements, vehicles, business cards). The civil penalty for not complying with this requirement could lead to a $1,000 fine for a first-time offense.

Four individuals also asked for an excessive down payment ahead of starting the work. Under California law, contractors are strictly limited to requesting no more than 10% of the home improvement project cost or $1,000, whichever is less. Violating this provision constitutes a misdemeanor offense, punishable by substantial fines of up to $5,000 or a potential one-year county jail sentence, or both.

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