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CSLB "Blitzes" Unlicensed Operators in Week-long Series of Stings and Sweeps

SACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) conducted a series of intensive stings and sweeps in five areas of the State during the week of February 6-10. Word about the California Blitz went out to well over two million Californians who read about it in local newspapers or saw stories on television.

The five locations targeted by the Board's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) for undercover stings included: Elk Grove (Sacramento County), Napa, Santa Cruz, Bakersfield and Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County). Local law enforcement was enthusiastically cooperative in these joint operations, which resulted in 123 legal actions against suspected illegal operators. "The California Blitz wasn't successful because of one person or organization," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "It worked because of partnerships we have at all levels of law enforcement. This truly shows that different public agencies can and do work well together."

"We're particularly pleased by the building industry's help with these sting operations," said CSLB Chair Bert Sandman. "Not only do they help us identify unlicensed operators, one of the homes used in the California Blitz was donated by a developer." The CSLB has also received the support for these enforcement actions from building departments around the state. "Too often unsuspecting homeowners are convinced by unlicensed operators to pull their own owner-builder permits," said CSLB Board Member and Director of the Riverside County Buildings and Safety Department James Miller. "They don't realize the risks and responsibilities they take by doing this."

The CSLB is also a partner in Governor Schwarzenegger's Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC). The CSLB, the Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the Employment Development Department (EDD) focus on going after those participating in California's huge illegal underground economy. Partner teams sweep through construction sites, checking for unlicensed activity, interviewing workers, managers, owners, and safety officers and checking the businesses' paperwork, paying particular attention to employees who are being paid under the table. "The EEEC partnership is important because our different agencies have different jurisdictions and enforcement tools," said CSLB Enforcement Committee Chair Matt Kelly. "When we come together, we can take multiple actions against problem contractors and really send a message that their illegal actions won't be tolerated."

The following are results from the California Blitz enforcement actions:

Location Agencies Involved Results
Elk Grove SWIFT
Elk Grove Police Department
California Dept. of Insurance
20 Notices to Appear (NTA)
6 Felony Arrests
11 Non-Licensee Citations
6 Licensee Citations
Napa Police Department
7 NTAs
3 Non-Licensee Citations
Santa Cruz SWIFT
Santa Cruz District Attorney's Office
Santa Cruz Sheriff's Dept.
10 NTAs
5 Non-Licensee Citations
Bakersfield SWIFT
Kern County Sheriff's Department
Kern County District Attorney
23 NTAs, 3 Non-Licensee Citations
Redondo Beach SWIFT
Redondo Beach City Attorney
Redondo Beach Police Department
26 NTAs
2 Felony Arrests
1 Licensee Citation

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 297,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2004-05, the CSLB helped consumers get more than $36 million in restitution.


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