Repeat Offender Cited During CSLB Undercover Sting in Orange County


Avoid the risks by hiring licensed contractors

SACRAMENTO – The spring season means the start of outdoor projects for many homeowners. Unfortunately, the threat posed by illegal contractors is in full bloom.

On March 20, investigators from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), with help from local law enforcement, went undercover in the City of Orange to catch alleged unlicensed contractors. Eight suspects came to bid on home improvement work, including Tommy Martinez Flores, who was convicted of illegal contracting last year after being caught in a previous CSLB sting, and who continued to disobey the law.

With help from the City of Orange Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s office, SWIFT investigators invited alleged unlicensed contractors to bid on home improvement projects at a single-story house near Chapman University. The suspects were looking for jobs like laying concrete, painting the exterior of the residence, removing trees, installing exterior tile, and laying down wood flooring.

The bids from the eight suspects ranged from $949 to lay down wood flooring to a high of $8,000 for painting and stucco work – 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.

Flores, the repeat offender, was convicted in April of 2018 of illegal contracting. After being ensnared in this latest sting, he may face a second conviction penalty, which could result in 90 days in jail, and a fine of 20 percent of the contract price or $5,000, whichever is greater (BPC §7028(c)). Flores and seven others received a citation for bidding over the legal limit for contracting without a license. As a result, they could now face a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license (BPC §7028(a)).

“These suspects are knowingly working illegally, putting unsuspecting homeowners on the hook for property damages or injuries, and are undercutting legitimate contractors who comply with contracting and labor laws and regulations," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "By using CSLB's free online tools like 'Find My Licensed Contractor' or our 'Check a License' feature, homeowners can avoid these problems."

The online and print advertisements that led investigators to the suspects could earn all eight a fine of up to $1,000 for violating advertising rules (BPC § 7027.1). Advertisements for unlicensed contractors must note that they are not a state-licensed contractor.

All suspects were ordered to appear in court at the Orange County Superior Court, 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA 92701, on June 20, 2019, at 8:30 a.m.

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

ORANGE DAY 1 – MARCH 20, 2019
SUSPECT NAME
CITY OF RESIDENCE
LICENSE CLASSIFICATION ALLEGED VIOLATION
Jorge Bartolo Gonzalez Medina
Fullerton
C-13 Fencing Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Eduardo Alfonso Cardenas Gavila
Orange
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Alejandro Medina Trujillo
Buena Park
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Mohamed Mohamed
Fountain Valley
C-54 Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Tommy Martinez Flores
Orange
C-13 Fencing Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Anthony Terry Vunileva
Riverside
C-8 Concrete Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Adrian Avila Chavez Jr.
Balboa Island
C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising
Carlos Murillo
Stanton
C-15 Flooring Contractor Contracting Without a License,
Illegal Advertising

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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