CSLB Continues Underground Economy

CSLB Underground EconomyThe CSLB continues underground economy by making the requirements to obtain a license more restrictive.

They like to taut their sting operations and talk about where the “illegal contractors” are coming from. But what they aren’t talking about is how they are clamping down on what they will and will not accept as experience.

I was told recently by a CSLB employee that those in power are considering restricting who can be a certifier. It was suggested that they may only accept certifier’s who are contractors and/or contractor employers. They would no longer accept clients as certifiers or business associates as certifiers.

IF they do this, they better go thru the legislature because the law states who can be a certifier. The CSLB track record since Rick Villucci gained power is to do whatever they want without getting legislative approval.

Remember the “critical classifications” as the CSLB called them? CSLB staff has been directed to no longer use that term. Why? Because the Rick Villucci regime did not have the legal authority to segregate (profile) applications based on the trade that was being applied for.

Here’s a recent press release from the Contractors State License Board…

CSLB Drives Home Message to Unlicensed Contractors in Ventura County

Nearly 70 percent of illegal contractors from outside of county during two-day Moorpark sting 

SACRAMENTO  – Unlicensed contractors won’t let a long drive dissuade them from trying to steal work from legitimate contractors. A sting operation conducted in Moorpark last week by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) once again showed that to be true. Ten of the 14 individuals cited for illegal contracting came from outside of the area, including the outer reaches of Los Angeles County.

“Unlicensed contractors will beat a path to your door if they think there’s a big paycheck in it for them,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “Many times, they will turn in very low bids to get the job. But homeowners take big risks if they fall into that trap. Always remember to check CSLB’s website to see if the person you plan to hire is licensed and in good standing.”

Investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), assisted by Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputies, held the sting at a ranch-style home near Moorpark College on April 8 and 9, 2015. Seven unlicensed contractors were caught each day and were given Notices to Appear in Ventura County Superior Court on charges of misdemeanor illegal contracting.

“The Moorpark Police Department and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office appreciate our partnership with the Contractors State License Board,” said Captain John Reilly of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. “Our joint efforts in this operation send a clear message that unlicensed contractors operating in Ventura County will be targeted and prosecuted.”

SWIFT investigators used tips from a variety of sources, including the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, a nearby city building department, and a state agency, to create a list of suspected unlicensed contractors who might be interested in submitting a home improvement bid. Project bids were given to investigators for installation of a tankless water heater, installation of vinyl fencing, flooring, tree removal, and interior painting.

All suspects turned in bids that were in excess of the limit allowed by state contracting laws. Any project that is $500 or more in combined labor and material costs must be performed by a state-licensed contractor, per Business and Professions Code section 7028. The highest bid, for the vinyl fence, was for $10,000; most were in the $2,000-$5,000 range.

All 14 suspects were cited for contracting without a license, as well as an additional charge of illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). State law prohibits unlicensed contractors from advertising for construction-related work valued at $500 or more, although they can advertise for jobs below that amount if the ad states that they are not licensed.

First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation.

Suspects have a court date of either June 17 or June 18, 2015, in Ventura County Superior Court, 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura CA 90039.

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Lesson Not Learned for Repeat Offenders in CSLB Sting

Lesson Not Learned for Repeat Offenders Caught in CSLB Sting Operations.

Cited for illegal contracting in Chino, Lake Elsinore were cited previously, disregarded fines.

CSLB Undercover StingSACRAMENTO  –  One of the goals of the undercover sting operations conducted by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is to convince those caught for illegal contracting that they’re far better off getting their license and working as a legitimate contractor.

But, as a pair of Inland Empire stings showed last week, that message just doesn’t sink in for some.

Of the 13 persons cited April 24 on illegal contracting charges at stings in Chino and Lake Elsinore, three were repeat offenders, including one who had a $5,000 warrant hanging over his head for failing to appear in court on a previous contracting violation. Seven suspects who came to the Chino sting were issued Notices To Appear (NTA) in San Bernardino Superior Court; six from the Lake Elsinore sting have Riverside County Superior Court dates.

The suspect with the $5,000 warrant, Lazaro A. Garcia, of Riverside, is a very familiar figure to CSLB investigators. An unlicensed painter who operates under the business name “Professional Home Repairs,” Garcia has been issued three previous NTAs for misdemeanor charges related to illegal contracting, and has been cited twice by CSLB on administrative violations.

Twelve of the 13 suspects, including the previous offenders, received misdemeanor citations for 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. Penalties escalate with successive violations.

In addition, 12 of the 13 were cited on a misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise for jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor.

“We try to bring unlicensed contractors over to the legal side. We even give those caught in our stings an application to apply for a license,” CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said. “But we won’t tolerate these chronic offenders who think they can sidestep the law and endanger the public.”

My thoughts…

Steve Sands says they “try to bring unlicensed contractors over to the legal side”? What he doesn’t mention is that if those cited in a sting were to apply, the CSLB licensing investigation posse will put that applicant through the wringer. They will ask for everything to be documented…. in triplicate. That applicant will already have a huge red flag next to his name.

My feeling is, if a guy is contracting without a license, I doubt he’s keeping complete and accurate records. I also feel that unlicensed guy knows he’d get pulled through the wringer and has no way of “proving” his experience. Maybe that’s why these unlicensed contractors aren’t taking good ol’ Steve up on his generous offer to join the flock.

And it does appear as though the CSLB tolerates it if they are citing the same unlicensed contractors repeatedly. If the slap on the hand doesn’t hurt, the bad kid is going to continue doing bad stuff. Wake up SWIFT/CSLB, your stings are ineffective!

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CSLB News Release

A CSLB News Release was issued today.

It’s good to see the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) getting out and doing these stings. There were several of them that were bidding as B-General Building Contractors. I wonder if any of them have looked into, or attempted to get their license but couldn’t because of the new application processing procedures. And this could be a sign that the underground economy is expanding.CSLB News Release

It Was Raining Illegal Contractors at Hayward CSLB Sting OperationNine suspects cited, given court dates for contracting without license, illegal advertising.

SACRAMENTO

– A stormy day didn’t deter unlicensed contractors from converging on a Hayward home to bid for construction work during a Contractors State License Board CSLB undercover sting operation on November 20, 2013, carried out with the assistance of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Nine suspects were issued Notices to Appear NTAs in Superior Court on charges of contracting without a license and false advertising.

Investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team SWIFT posed as homeowners at the single-family home and fielded a multitude of offers to do work that included electrical, plumbing, fencing and flooring projects. It wasn’t difficult for CSLB investigators to identify those who might be illegally contracting in the area simply by checking online bulletin boards such as craigslist, business cards or flyers posted at hardware stores, and local publications, including Penny Saver.

Nine of the 10 people who showed up to give a bidwere cited. All nine face misdemeanor charges for both contracting without a license Business and Professions Code section 7028, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted, and illegal advertising Business and Professions Code section 7027.1. State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor. The penalty is a fine of $700 to $1,000.

The lone person who did not bid had a good reason – he had been cited for illegal contracting during a CSLB sting in July and avoided getting caught again.

“It doesn’t matter what the conditions – rain, cold, or even after a natural disaster – unlicensed contractors always seem to come out of the woodwork,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “And they come to take advantage of a situation, no matter if they’re qualified or not to do the job.

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Sex Offenders, Convicted Felons Snagged in Contractors State License Board Statewide Sting

Sex Offenders, Convicted Felons Snagged in Contractors

sex offenders, convicted felonsState License Board Statewide Sting

California Blitz highlights serious risks consumers take when hiring unlicensed contractors

SACRAMENTO – Seventy-five people may face criminal charges after being caught in six simultaneous statewide undercover sting operations conducted this week by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Among those arrested during CSLB’s fall California Blitz were two registered sex offenders; two individuals with several prior felonies including robbery, rape, burglary and drug possession; three who had an active arrest warrant; and several caught using contractor license numbers not belonging to them. Three of the suspects were taken to jail. One vehicle was towed.

“Homeowners should be nervous when they hear the background of some of the people we caught in these stings,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “Unlicensed, illegal activity that puts homeowners at risk and legitimate contractors at a competitive disadvantage will not be tolerated.”

“The Department of Insurance works closely with our state law enforcement partners to make sure that all businesses comply with the workers’ compensation laws, so that no business enjoys an unfair competitive advantage by violating the law”, said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones… There’s more to read

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