CSLB Spring 2015 Newsletter

The CSLB Spring 2015 Newsletter was sent out today.

Here are my highlights… or lowlights.

CSLBs Illegal Critical ClassificationsIn the Chair’s opening statement he said: “You can expect CSLB to continue its vigorous regulation of California’s construction industry, and to aggressively pursue unlicensed contractors and unscrupulous businesses through sting operations, construction site sweeps, and other strategies. We want to build more partnerships with licensees, industry groups, and government agencies to present a united front against individuals and businesses who try to hide from state laws or take advantage of consumers.”

Once again, they’re missing the bigger picture. Cause and effect, if you will. “…vigorous regulation of California’s construction industry, and to aggressively pursue unlicensed contractors…” The Contractors State License Board is playing a HUGE part in creating the large amount of unlicensed contractors with their “vigorous regulations.”

For over two years now they have been putting applicants through the wringer with their “profiling” of specific applications. They continue to quote the regulation that requires them to perform a secondary review of at least three percent of all apps received. What I’m hoping/praying will happen is that the State Legislature or an attorney will finally call the CSLB to the mat on this.

They are not randomly selecting applications as the law states, they specifically profiling and targeting these classifications. Last week I was told by a CSLB employee that they should no longer use the term “critical classifications.” I guess they realized that using this term was illegal. DUH!!! They can’t just decide on the whim of a single power hungry CSLB employee to profile specific individuals.

That’s all for now. More later.

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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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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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