Illegal Contractors Feel the Sting in CSLB Orange County Investigation


16 suspects cited for contracting without a license and illegal advertising; one issued an additional citation for using the license of another

SACRAMENTO – On March 28-29, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) performed a sting operation at a commercial property in the Yorba Linda area to stop unlicensed contracting activity. Online advertisements, business cards, and signs on the sides of trucks led CSLB investigators to 16 individuals who were allegedly contracting illegally. Those men left the sting with citations and a date to appear in court.

With help from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) went undercover as property owners and invited alleged unlicensed contractors to place bids at a commercial building near Veteran’s Park.

Sixteen individuals bid on painting the exterior of the building and for tree services. Quotes from the two-day sting ranged from $1,650 to $25,000 for exterior painting, and $2,000 to $4,200 for tree services; all well over the legal threshold for contracting without a license.

A contractor license is required for any job that is $500 or more in combined labor and material costs (Business and Professions Code (BPC) § 7028). First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines; subsequent convictions bring harsher penalties.

"Anyone who is considering hiring a contractor for work on their property should first visit our website to confirm the person’s license status," said Dave Fogt, CSLB Registrar. "All of our licensees are bonded, which can save consumers from being liable for any property damages or injuries that can occur during the project." CSLB recently launched an online search tool for consumers to find their local contractor by zip code or city to alleviate the hiring of unlicensed contractors.

The advertisements that initially tipped off SWIFT warranted an additional violation for all sixteen men caught for illegal contracting. California law requires unlicensed contractors to state in all advertising that they are not licensed (BPC §7027.1).

One of the suspects received a third citation for displaying a CSLB license number that was not registered to him (BPC § 119c).

All offenders were ordered to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on June 21 and June 28, 2018, at the Orange County Superior Court (MAP), 700 Civic Center Drive, West, Santa Ana, CA 92701.

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

DAY 1
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Mario Diaz Medina
Corona
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Elvis Alfonso Mojica-Delgado
Corona
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Sergio Leobardo Alvilez-Rivas
Corona
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Edwin Aroldo Cardenas-Cochojil
Los Angeles
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Ruben Guerrero
Anaheim
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Efren Perez-Vazquez
Anaheim
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Marco Antonio Barragan-Silva
Placentia
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Yobani Ixcapa Gomez
Santa Ana
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Shane Michael Reese
Huntington Beach
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

DAY 2
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Gustavo Lucero Gonzalez
Santa Ana
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Using the license of another
Glen Gordon Forsyth
Anaheim
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Omar Israel Barba-Mendoza
Anaheim
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Fausto Perez-Deviana
Garden Grove
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Armando Hernandez-Nunez
Long Beach
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Francisco A. Rivera-Moreno
Murrieta
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Erik E. Rodriguez Garibay
Santa Ana
D-49 Tree Service Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

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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