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175 Illegal Operators Rounded Up by CSLB during Statewide Undercover Operation

Unlicensed operators targeted in seven cities over two–day period

SACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Board has (CSLB) topped last year's record of citations and arrests during its largest undercover operation ever. Last week (March 12-13) the CSLB conducted a statewide sting operation in seven different cities, simultaneously. The CSLB's entire Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) was involved in the operation, which is aimed at the underground economy and unfair competition.

A total of 175 people were arrested and issued a Notice to Appear (NTA). They will have to go before a Superior Court judge to answer the misdemeanor charges, which could lead to a penalty of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Twelve suspects were arrested and transported to jail, including a man wanted for child and spousal abuse, repeat offenders, an unregistered sex offender, a city worker who gave a bid during his lunch break, a man with a fake Social Security card, and another with a fake driver's license.

The cities involved with two-day stings were American Canyon (Napa County), Anaheim (Orange County), Highland (San Bernardino County), Van Nuys (Los Angeles County), Exeter/Visalia (Tulare County) Placerville (El Dorado County) and Solana Beach (San Diego County). "An operation of this size was made possible through the cooperation of industry, local cities and law enforcement agencies, District Attorneys, and our partners in the Fraud Division at the Department of Insurance," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Each of these groups stepped up to show their commitment in going after those who contract without a license and break other laws."

The following are highlights from the enforcement operations:

American Canyon
Napa County
Contractors State License Board
American Canyon Police Department
American Canyon Planning Department
Napa County District Attorney's Office
Department of Insurance
19 Notices to Appear
Van Nuys
Los Angeles County
Contractors State License Board
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
27 Notices to Appear
4 to jail
Solana Beach
San Diego County
Contractors State License Board
San Diego County Sheriff's Department
San Diego County District Attorney's Office
Solana Beach Code Enforcement
Department of Insurance
27 Notices to Appear
2 to jail
Exeter (Day 1)
Visalia (Day 2)
Tulare County
Contractors State License Board
Tulare County District Attorney's Office
23 Notices to Appear
1 to jail
San Bernardino County
Contractors State License Board
San Bernardino Police Department
California Dept. of Justice
Department of Insurance
27 Notices to Appear
2 to jail
El Dorado County
Contractors State License Board
Department of Insurance
El Dorado County District Attorney's Office
Placerville Police Department
21 Notices to Appear
2 to jail
Orange County
Contractors State License Board
Anaheim Police Department
31 Notices to Appear
1 to jail

Sting details of note from various locations:

  • American Canyon - Unlicensed operator who lives down the street from sting site sees people bidding for jobs and asks if he can give a bid too. A laborer who accompanied another unlicensed operator had marijuana.
  • Placerville - Guy set up for Day 2 of sting so anxious to give a bid, he showed up at end of Day 1.
  • Van Nuys - Unlicensed operator took a customer with him to buy materials then stopped with him at sting house to give a bid.
  • Visalia - Unlicensed operator who was distributing flyers for a licensed contractor stops at sting house and asks if he can give a bid.

News media from around the state ran stories about the operation. It was featured prominently in the Los Angeles Times, on Fox 11 Los Angeles and popular news-talk radio stations like KCBS and KFI along with major market dailies and TV stations.

The CSLB's SWIFT Unit conducts on the average of one sting per week somewhere in California. The Contractors State License Board licenses and regulates California's 315,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints annually. In fiscal year 2006-07, the CSLB obtained nearly $45 million in ordered restitution for consumers. To learn more about the CSLB, visit our Website at


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