Unlicensed Contractors Pour in During CSLB Undercover Sting
The rain wasn’t the only thing pouring in during an undercover sting operation in Placer County. On March 21-22, 2017 the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) conducted an undercover sting operation in Roseville, citing 14 people for alleged illegal contracting. Among those cited were two repeat offenders, a registered sex offender, and one suspect on probation.
Investigators with CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) set up the sting at a single-family home near Santucci Park. Posing as homeowners, investigators invited suspected unlicensed contractors to bid on home improvement projects including painting, fencing, landscaping, and flooring. Bids ranged from $940 to $4,600, exceeding the $500 limit at which a state contractor’s license is required.
Twelve people placed bids above the legal limit, which earned them a citation for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) section (§)7028). The penalty for a conviction is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
SWIFT investigators were aided by the Roseville Police Department, who ran background checks on those cited. One suspect is a registered sex offender, and another was on probation for vehicle theft and selling methamphetamine. CSLB investigators also saw some familiar faces, as two of the suspects cited had been caught in previous CSLB stings for contracting without a license. This time, one of these individuals tried to use a friend’s contractor license number, which resulted in a felony charge for using a license that did not belong to him (BPC § 7027.3). This carries a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment in state prison or county jail for up to one year, or both.
“Consumers take a huge risk when hiring unlicensed contractors to work on their homes,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “Contractors who are licensed by CSLB are required to pass thorough background checks and any disciplinary actions against them are disclosed on CSLB’s website.”
All 14 people caught during the sting received a citation for illegal advertising. California law requires unlicensed contractors to state in all advertising that they are not licensed (BPC §7027.1). The penalty for that charge is a fine of $700 to $1,000.