Contractor News: 9th CSLB Sting This Year Leads To Arrest of Two Unlicensed Contractors
Another CSLB sting, another series of arrests. The CSLB has just announced their 9th sting of the year, leading to the successful arrest of two contractors allegedly working without a license – an act that is illegal in the state of California.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) recently coordinated their 9th sting of the year – a successful operation aimed at apprehending previously identified unlicensed contractors in the Bay Area.
Working together with local LEOs, the CSLB’s Anti-Fraud Investigative Unit – under the umbrella of the CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) – organized this initiative in September and finally put it into action at the end of the month.
They identified two contractors who they had gathered evidence suggesting unlicensed contracting work. The rest was easy – they offered the contractors identified to bid for various residential construction tasks at a designated location. Of course, all of it was fake – a way to get these unscrupulous builders off the streets.
When the contractors arrived to discuss the project, they were immediately put under arrest. As is often the case with unlicensed contractors, the two had warrants out for operating without the necessary license. They were detained for the operation and handed summons to appear in criminal court due to unauthorized contracting activities, where they will face criminal trials and penalties for unlicensed contracting.
If they’re repeat offenders, they could face huge fines or even jail time. It’s great to have these contractors off the streets, giving us all a bad name – but they’re not the only ones the CSLB has taken care of this year.
2023: A Year of CSLB Stings
This sting marks the 9th unlicensed contractor sting the CSLB has undertaken in just this year – and all of them have been successful. The two allegedly unlicensed contractors put the number of unlicensed contractors the CSLB has taken down to over 40 JUST THIS YEAR!
In addition to this most recent sting in Sacramento, the CSLB has been engaging in sting operations throughout California: with the most recent surge taking place in southern Orange County, Rancho Cordova, Sonoma County, and Lake Tahoe, and has resulted in dozens of individuals being cited for engaging in contracting activities without the required licenses.
Here’s just a few of those stings.
In southern Orange County, an undercover operation was conducted by the CSLB and the California Department of Insurance. This operation led to eight individuals receiving Notices to Appear in criminal court for allegedly engaging in unlicensed contracting activities.
Four other individuals are set to be referred to the Orange County District Attorney for similar violations. On top of unlicensed contracting charges, these unlicensed alleged violators may face additional charges for advertising their construction services without the necessary license.
In Rancho Cordova, the CSLB partnered with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office for a similar operation. This resulted in the identification of multiple individuals engaged in illegal contracting practices. Ten individuals were cited for allegedly conducting contracting activities without the required license, and they may face legal consequences, including fines up to $15,000 and/or jail time.
In Sonoma County, the CSLB conducted an undercover sting operation that resulted in eight individuals doing work over the legal limit of $500. These unlicensed contractors face penalties that include fines of up to $15,000 and potential jail time.
In the Lake Tahoe area, the CSLB collaborated with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office in a sting operation. Seven unlicensed individuals were cited for submitting bids that exceeded the legal limit of $500. These individuals may face fines and potential imprisonment. They may also face additional charges for advertising their construction services without the required license.
These operations underscore the CSLB’s commitment to enforcing contracting laws and protecting consumers from unscrupulous individuals involved in unlicensed contracting activities. The CSLB continues to urge consumers to verify a contractor’s license before hiring them for any home improvement job.
The Costs of Doing Unlicensed Work
As we’ve outlined many times in our blog, the cost of doing unlicensed work can be significant. For many of these unlicensed contractors, they’re looking at license suspensions of a year, on top of jail time and thousands in fines.
For example, just this year a county judge sentenced a repeat offender to SEVEN YEARS in prison. This guy was on another level of unethical – not only performing contracting work without a license, but also simply scamming people out of thousands of dollars to not perform work at all – but he serves as an important example to any and all contractors out there: the CSLB is watching, and they will catch you.
Unlicensed contractors like this now felonious man pose a significant risk to everyone in our society. Construction needs to be performed to standard and that’s why the CSLB exists – to protect both contractors and clients from substandard work that fails to meet building codes and leaves homeowners with little recourse for repairs or compensation.
There’s simply no reason not to stay compliant with CSLB rules and regulations. Considering the incredible consequences of violating California law, a CSLB-certified contractor is a safe and happy contractor.
Contractors caught in this operation might also face charges for promoting their construction services without the requisite license. In California, it’s prohibited to advertise construction or home improvement services without the appropriate license for the specified category.
Those without a license advertising such services must clearly indicate their unlicensed status and cannot propose contracts exceeding $500 in total value, which includes both labor and materials.
A Word From The CSLB
In their press release announcing this latest sting, David Fogt, the Registrar of CSLB, emphasized the board’s dedication to consumer safety, stating, “Our foremost aim is to shield consumers from potential pitfalls associated with unlicensed contractors. We prioritize public awareness about the significance of hiring licensed professionals and verifying their credentials before finalizing any construction agreement.”
Mr. Fogt also highlighted state regulations concerning down payments for home improvements and the stipulations on progressive payments in his release. Initial payments shouldn’t exceed 10% of the entire project’s cost or be more than $1,000, whichever is lower. Progressive payments should reflect the actual value of the work done. Violations of these guidelines are treated as misdemeanors, potentially leading to a year in county jail, a fine of $5,000, or both.
For additional information or to report any suspicious activities by unlicensed contractors, please refer to the CSLB website at www.cslb.ca.gov or contact CSLB directly at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752). Stay updated with CSLB’s latest announcements by following them on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.