Illegal Contractors Advertising on Internet Still Being Caught in Los Angeles Area CSLB Stings 6/20/13

SACRAMENTO – Three more illegal contractors were caught in a Rolling Hills Estates undercover sting operation just one month after the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) arrested eight individuals who were contracting without required state licenses and other legal infractions in the same location.

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) conducted the one-day sting in the southern Los Angeles area on June 19, 2013, with the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation.

Undercover CSLB investigators sought bids for work on flooring, concrete, fencing, tree-trimming, and garage doors at the residential sting property. Suspects were contacted through business cards and ads that appeared in the online bulletin board craigslist.org.

“Property owners considering improvement projects should always consult CSLB’s online instant license check to ensure the individual is licensed and that their contractor license is in good standing,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “Consumers must remember that in California, CSLB-licensed contractors are required for all home improvement jobs totaling $500 or more in combined labor and material costs.”

Illegal contractors often put legitimate, tax-paying contractors at a competitive disadvantage, and, if a contractor isn’t properly licensed and insured, the homeowner could pay more than expected to get the job done right or could be liable for accidental onsite injuries. It only takes a few seconds to check a contractor license on CSLB’s website for peace of mind.

Two of the three suspects face misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code section 7028). First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines; subsequent convictions bring harsher penalties. One suspect was cited for requesting an excessive down payment (Business and Professions Code section 7159.5 (a)(3)(b)). The legal down payment limit is 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less. Also, one citation was issued for failure to have the required CSLB Home Improvement Salesperson registration (Business and Professions Code section 7153). It is a misdemeanor for any home improvement company salesperson in California to write contracts for their employer without being CSLB-registered.

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