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CSLB Press Release - 10/18/13

Fifteen Unlicensed Operators Caught in One-Day Kern County Undercover Sting Conducted by Contractors State License Board

Several repeat offenders discovered during Bakersfield operation

SACRAMENTO — “Catching 15 unlicensed people in a matter of a few hours should be a clear warning to residents about the importance of making sure the person they’re asking into their home is a legitimate contractor,” said Contractors State License Board Registrar Steve Sands.

Two of the 15 people who were arrested this week during a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) undercover sting operation at a residence near the Kern City Golf Course had active arrest warrants; three previously had been convicted of and were on probation for unlicensed contracting. The operation was conducted on October 16, 2013, by CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team) (SWIFT), with the assistance of the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and the state Department of Insurance.

“Homeowners need to watch out for these criminals,” said Sands. “Unlicensed, illegal contracting puts homeowners at risk and legitimate contractors at a competitive disadvantage.”

Investigators posed as homeowners and invited nearly two dozen people who advertised as contractors to give bids for painting, tree services, landscaping, masonry, and concrete work. All 15 individuals arrested 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.

Nine of those who bid on projects asked for an excessive down payment (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). In California, a home improvement project down payment cannot exceed 10 percent of the contract total or $1,000, whichever is less. This misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

Thirteen of the phony contractors also were issued Stop Orders (Business and Professions Code section 7127). CSLB investigators can halt job site activity when any person with or without a contractor license does not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for employees. Failure to comply with a Stop Order can result in misdemeanor charges and penalties, including 60 days in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

Suspects are scheduled for arraignment at 8:30 a.m. on December 18, 2013, in Kern County Superior Court, 1215 Truxtun Avenue, Division G, Bakersfield, CA 93301 (MAP).

SUSPECTS WHO RECEIVED NOTICES TO APPEAR:

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION VIOLATIONS
Edwardo Alberto Chavez
Bakersfield
C8 - Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Jose Gonzalez Jr.
Bakersfield
C8 - Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Eloy Martyinez-Maya
Bakersfield
D-49 - Tree Service Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Perry Lamar Green
Bakersfield
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Craig Robertson Simpson
Bakersfield
C29 - Masonry Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Jason James Carter
Bakersfield
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Samuel Joe Mitchell
Bakersfield
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Sergio Noriega Rizo
Bakersfield
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Gilberto Avalos Madrigal
Bakersfield
C27 - Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Daniel Gomez Navarro
Bakersfield
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Amir R. Miranda
Arvin
C8 - Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Harry Gabriel Paredes
Bakersfield
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Timothy Dwayne Fowler
Oildale
C33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Excessive down payment,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order
Rodolfo Hernandez Hernandez
Bakersfield
D-49 - Tree Service Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
No workers' compensation - Stop Order

CSLB encourages consumers to always “Check The License First” by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov or calling CSLB’s toll-free automated line 800.321.CSLB (2757). Also, visit CSLB’s website for tips about how to hire a contractor and to sign up for CSLB email alerts.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on CSLB’s website or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752). You also can sign up for CSLB email alerts. CSLB licenses and regulates about 300,000 contractors in California, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2012-13, CSLB helped recover nearly $44 million in ordered restitution for consumers.