More than a Dozen Caught in CSLB Napa County Sting Proves Need to "Check The License First"


Fifteen cited for illegal contracting, including twelve for illegal advertising and six for excessive down payment

SACRAMENTO – In efforts to decrease the potential burn for unsuspecting homeowners who may fall victim to contracting scams, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) went undercover in St. Helena to help clear the area of unlicensed contractors. As a result, 15 people were issued notices to appear in court to answer charges of illegal contracting. These citations serve as a warning to illegal contractors to get their license and as a reminder to homeowners to always hire a licensed contractor.

On April 11-12, CSLB Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) members posed as homeowners and invited suspected unlicensed contractors to bid on projects at a single-family home near downtown St. Helena. They compiled a list of individuals from suspect leads, online advertisements, and business cards posted at local hardware stores.

Suspects were invited to the home to bid on work they claimed to specialize in through their advertisements. Bids ranged from $1,000 for paving to $16,000 for demolition work. A contractor license is required for all projects that cost $500 or more for labor and materials combined.

With help from the St. Helena Police Department and assistance from the Napa Valley Sheriff’s Department, investigators issued citations on the spot.

Fourteen suspects who bid on work were cited for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) § 7028). A first-time conviction could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to six months jailtime.

"People will promote themselves as having years of contracting experience, but it is illegal to charge over $500 unless they are licensed by CSLB," said CSLB Registrar Dave Fogt. "It is important that consumers do their own research and check the license first. Consumers can also conduct a search on CSLB’s website to find licensed contractors in their area."

Twelve suspects' illegal advertisements landed each of them an additional citation (BPC §7027.1). State law requires unlicensed contractors to reference in all advertising that they are not licensed, and licensed contractors must list their license number. Conviction of this violation could result in a fine of up to $1,000.

In addition, six of the bidders required an excessive down payment before starting work and were also written-up for that violation. It is illegal for contractors to ask for more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)).

All offenders were ordered to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on July 10, 2018, at the Napa County Court (MAP), 825 Brown Street, Napa, CA 94559.

NOTE: All suspects are presumed innocent until their case is resolved.

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Rodrigo Lopez Moya
Santa Rosa
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Cody Joe Twist
Santa Rosa
C-12 Earthwork and Paving Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Down Payment
Jose M. Salgado
Santa Rosa
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Dorian Kivel McDowell
Sebastopol
C-10 Electrical Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Israel Carranza Ambriz
Sacramento
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Ignazio Barreda
Napa
C-33 Painting and Decorating Illegal Advertising
Ronald Davis Dayzie
Santa Rosa
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Down payment
Alberto Martinez Mata
Healdsburg
C-21 Building Moving/Demolition Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Excessive Down payment
Jorge Rebolledo Galvan
Santa Rosa
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Down payment

DAY 2
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Christopher Carroll Lamela
Cloverdale
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License
Victor Rafael Hernandez Cuevas
Vallejo
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Down Payment
Andy David Toles
Vallejo
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Roy Hewins Womack
Vallejo
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Jorge Manuel Vieiera Jr.
Clearlake
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License
Brandon Michael Cheney
Santa Rosa
C-36 Plumbing Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Excessive Down Payment

CSLB encourages consumers to always "check the license first" before hiring a contractor by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). CSLB has introduced a new website feature to help consumers start their search for a licensed contractor. The new “Find My Licensed Contractor” feature enables users to build a list of all licensed contractors, sorted by trade, in a specific geographic area.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. CSLB licenses and regulates almost 290,000 contractors in California and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2016-17, CSLB helped recover over $47 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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