Sex Offender and Illegitimate Contractors Caught by CSLB in Simi Valley Sting


Fourteen suspects cited for illegal contracting and may face misdemeanor charges

SACRAMENTO - Orlando C. Torres, 68, of Bakersfield, was among 14 suspected unlicensed suspects who showed up at a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) undercover sting operation in late January. Torres, a registered sex offender, has been performing unlicensed work in consumer's homes for some months and charging thousands of dollars. CSLB is warning consumers to avoid inviting unscrupulous characters like Torres into their homes, and to use online tools for checking a license and hiring a local licensed contractor. All state-licensed contractors must undergo a criminal background check.

CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) coordinated a two-day sting operation at a home near Simi Valley High School on January 24-25. Investigators posed as homeowners and reached out to suspected unlicensed contractors to place bids on home improvement jobs like painting, laying concrete, fencing and building a gate.

Of those who placed bids, 14 were cited for contracting without a license and illegal advertising; one received an additional citation for using the contractor license of another. The Simi Valley Police Department performed background checks on the suspects while CSLB officials issued the citations.

Torres placed the lowest bid, $4,500 to paint the exterior of the home, while another suspect, posing as a concrete contractor, placed the highest bid of $14,525. One of the alleged unlicensed contractors was also cited for using the license of another (BPC § 119(c)).

In California, it's illegal to bid $500 or more (labor and materials combined) on construction projects without a state-issued contractor license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) § 7028).

"To protect consumers, all licensed contractors in California are required to go through a criminal background check before they can receive their license," said Dave Fogt, CSLB Registrar. "We encourage everyone who's thinking about hiring a contractor to check CSLB's website to make certain the person is licensed."

All 14 of the alleged unlicensed contractors also received an additional citation for illegal advertising. The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000 (BPC § 7027.1). Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements; unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license.

Those cited are scheduled to appear April 24 & 25, 2018, at the Ventura Superior Court (MAP), 800 South Victoria Avenue, Room 118, Ventura, CA 93003.

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

DAY 1

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Orlando Torres
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Arturo Barragan
Oxnard
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Jose Ramon "Berto" Gomez Lopez
Oxnard
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Juan Gabriel Gonzalez
Oxnard
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Angel Froilan Hic-Culpatan
Oxnard
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Leonardo Ramirez
Thousand Oaks
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Daniel Francis Lopez
Camarillo
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Roberto Sosa-Lopez
Simi Valley
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Casey Allen Cohen
Simi Valley
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Alejandro Perez Hernandez
Oxnard
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

DAY 2

SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE
CLASSIFICATION
ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS
Fidel Posadas-Hernandez
Moorpark
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Robert Lopez
Moorpark
C-13 Fencing Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Jonathan Richard Keep
Simi Valley
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Anthony Richard Lubetich III
Simi Valley
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Misdemeanor Pertaining to use of License

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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