Unlicensed Contractors Caught Placing High Bids in CSLB Orange County Sting Operation


Nineteen suspects were issued a notice to appear in court for contracting without a proper license, illegal advertising, and using the license of another

SACRAMENTO – Last week, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) cited unlicensed individuals who placed bids as high as $35,800 for residential contracting work. Consumers looking to make upgrades to their property should take this as a warning and not mistake a high price tag for quality work.

On October 17-18, 2018, CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) partnered with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the Orange County District Attorneys' Office to catch unlicensed contractors in the North Tustin area.

SWIFT developed a list of potential suspects by sifting through online and print advertisements. Once investigator identified their suspects, they went undercover as homeowners and invited the alleged unlicensed contractors to a single-family home near Peters Canyon Regional Park to bid on contracting jobs.

Out of those contacted, nineteen offered their services for prices ranging from $4,500 to build a brick wall to $12,470 to install synthetic grass, and as high as $35,800 to pave the driveway – all over the legal threshold for contracting without a license.

In California, a contractor license is required for construction projects valued over $500 for labor and materials combined. All suspects could be charged with a misdemeanor count of contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section 7028). The penalty for a first-conviction includes up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

"Just because someone is asking for thousands of dollars to do the work doesn't mean they have the skills, insurance, or know the trade well enough to get the job done right," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "It's important that homeowners get at least three bids and make sure that the person they hire is legitimately licensed."

Consumers can also use the new online, "Find My Licensed Contractor" feature to download and/or print a list of qualified licensed contractors in their area. CSLB would also like to encourage consumers who are looking to hire a contractor use our online "Check a License" feature to make certain the person is licensed and in good standing.

All nineteen suspects may also face an additional misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising (BPC § 7027.1). Unlicensed contractors can only advertise if the ad states that they are not a state-licensed contractor, and the type of jobs advertised for are worth less than $500.

Additionally, one suspect who is a registered salesperson through CSLB could face a third charge for using someone else's licensee number (BPC § 119c).

All suspects were ordered to appear in court on Thursday, January 17, 2019 and Thursday, January 24 at 8:30 a.m. at the Orange County Superior Court, 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA 92701 (MAP).

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

DAY 1 - OCTOBER 17, 2018
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Luis Edgar Salas Rosas
Santa Ana
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Todd Matthew Alexander
Brea
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising,
Using license of another
Agilberto Martinez-Hernandez
Garden Grove
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Calvin Pham
Westminster
C-29 Masonry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Natalia Sanchez Ortiz
Los Angeles
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Luis Fernando Reves Torres
Anaheim
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Mong Hoang Thi Ho
Garden Grove
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Alejandro Arroyo Gonzalez
Huntington Beach
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Brian Do
Garden Grove
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

DAY 2 - OCTOBER 18, 2018
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Jose Luz Arvizo
Santa Ana
C-29 Masonry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Rubicel Isidro-Aquino
Fullerton
C-29 Masonry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Chinh C. Pham
Garden Grove
C-29 Masonry Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Marlon A. Rodriguez Duarte
Whittier
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Felipe DeJesus Mendez-Moncada
Garden Grove
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Leonardo Baez
Ontario
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Van Hoang Nguyen
Fountain Valley
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Donny Hoa Chau
Garden Grove
C-8 Concrete Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Miguel Angel Arvizu
Anaheim
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising
Alfredo Castro-Mendoza
Santa Ana
C-27 Landscaping Contracting without a license,
Illegal advertising

CSLB conducts an average of one sting each week around the state each week to protect consumers, help level the playing field for legitimate contractors, and to curb the underground economy. Visit CSLB's website for more tips on how to hire a licensed contractor.

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 2017-18, CSLB helped recover more than $50 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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