CSLB Finds Contractors Lacking Workers' Comp Insurance in Bakersfield Sting


Nine cited for failure to have workers' comp during undercover sting operation

SACRAMENTO – If contractors bring employees to help them out on a job, those contractors need workers' compensation insurance in case an employee is injured. During a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) sting operation in Bakersfield last week, several people were cited for not having the state-required insurance for their workers and for contracting without a license.

On April 9-10, CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) partnered with the Kern County District Attorney and the California Department of Insurance to setup a sting at a single-family home near Liberty Park in Bakersfield. Posing as homeowners, investigators invited suspected unlicensed contractors to bid on home renovation projects. Bids ranged from $950 for landscaping to $4,200 to paint the house.

Nine suspects did not have workers' compensation insurance policies to cover those working for them, and were cited (Labor Code section 3700.5). Penalties for not carrying workers' compensation insurance can be severe. The penalty for a first offense is up to one year in county jail and a $10,000 fine. A stop order can also be issued on work projects, with fines of $1,000 per employee on the payroll at that time, up to $100,000. There are additional penalties if an injured worker files a workers' compensation claim and the employer doesn't have the proper insurance. That employee can also file a civil action against the employer.

"If a contractor does not have workers' comp insurance, it can be very costly for the homeowner," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt, "since they may be liable if the employee gets hurt on their property."

If contractors don't have employees, they must file a workers' compensation exemption with CSLB, which is noted on the license record. The exception is for roofing contractors, who must carry workers' compensation insurance, whether they work solo or have employees (who also must be covered).

Homeowners can visit the CSLB website to perform an "instant license check" of a contractor by typing in their license number, business name, or personnel name. Workers' compensation insurance information is listed on the contractor's individual webpage.

Also during the Bakersfield sting operation, 18 suspects were alleged to have violated state contracting law by placing bids well over the legal threshold for contracting without a license.

In California, it's illegal for an unlicensed person to perform any contracting work on a project valued at $500 or more in combined labor and material costs. As a result, the suspects could now face a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code (BPC) §7028(a)). First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

Eighteen of the suspects may face an additional misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising. Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements and unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license (BPC §7027.1). The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000.

One of the suspects will face an additional felony charge of illegally using a contractor license number (BPC §7027.3). Jeffrey S. Anderson was allegedly using a license that expired in 2012. Punishment for that charge may include a fine of up to $10,000, and up to one year in state prison, or both.

All suspects were ordered to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on June 11-12, 2019 at the Kern County Superior Court – Room 11, 1215 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301.

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

BAKERSFIELD DAY 1 – APRIL 9, 2019
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Joshua Canterberry
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting & Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Juan Carlos Garzon Canedo
Bakersfield
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Olga Libia Haro-Soto
Escondido
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Marco T. Hernandez Alonso
Lamont
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Oscar Geovany Morales Hernandez
Coachella
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Ramon Reyes
Bakersfield
C-10 Electrical Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Marvin Ramirez
Bakersfield
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Carlos Geovany Rodriguez Mejia
Bakersfield
C-54 Ceramic & Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Delbert Troy Smith
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting & Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Brendan G. Collins
Bakersfield
C-10 Electrical Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Jeffrey S. Anderson
Bakersfield
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
Fraudulent Use of Incorrect License Numb
Stephen Wayne Beason
Bakersfield
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

BAKERSFIELD DAY 2 – APRIL 10, 2019
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Mathew David Brown
Bakersfield
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Jose Maria Sanchez Suales
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting & Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance,
Excessive Down Payment
Thomas Delgado Cazares
Lamont
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Excessive Down Payment,
No Workers' Comp Insurance
Manuel Maldonado Noriega
Bakersfield
C-15 Flooring & Floor Covering Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Rudolph Richard Aros
Bakersfield
C-54 Ceramic & Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Eric Lee Hogan
Bakersfield
C-33 Painting & Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Rafael P. Huaman Camayo
Bakersfield
C-27 Landscaping Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising,
No Workers' Comp Insurance

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 over $50 million in ordered restitution for consumers.


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