Spring 2015       |      Cindi A. Christenson, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


email alerts button

To fulfill its consumer protection mission, CSLB's Enforcement division — with the help of partnering state agencies and local law enforcement — works hard to hold accountable those contractors who harm the public through illegal business practices.

Unlicensed Contractor Who Targeted Vulnerable Seniors Gets 12 Years in Prison

An unlicensed contractor from West Sacramento was ordered to spend the next 12 years in state prison after an investigation initiated by CSLB led to a wider probe that uncovered more than a dozen elderly victims and losses that exceeded $500,000.

Patrick R. Murphy, 60, pleaded no contest in March 2015 in Sacramento County Superior Court to four counts of elder financial abuse, and an enhancement acknowledging a pattern of fraud resulting in a loss of more than one-half million dollars, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney's (DA) Office.

CSLB began investigating Murphy in 2013, when a man reported that during a five-month period, his elderly and ailing father had written almost $73,000 in checks to Murphy and a partner for a succession of small "repair" projects at his Rancho Cordova home.

An industry expert evaluating the work concluded an excessive amount was charged, much of the quality was poor, and portions of the contract were not fulfilled. In addition to contracting without a license, CSLB investigators also found evidence that Murphy had been using contractor license numbers belonging to other companies without their knowledge, and violated workers' compensation insurance requirements.

The case was turned over to the Sacramento DA for criminal prosecution. A DA investigator found Murphy had engaged in a similar pattern of financial abuse with other elderly victims.

Prosecutors said that Murphy, as he had in the Rancho Cordova case, had targeted senior citizens he met while doing small construction projects at their homes. According to the DA report, once the initial jobs were completed, Murphy added work at an exorbitant cost that went far above the real value. In several incidents, payments were demanded for the same work. Murphy also borrowed money from some victims, which he did not repay.

Properties Needed for Undercover Sting Operations

To catch unlicensed contractors who illegally skim business from licensed contractors, CSLB needs residential and commercial properties where sting operations can be conducted. As you know, CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Teams (SWIFT) proactively target those suspected of contracting without a license. Many are identified through online ads, some from industry leads, others from complaints. Investigators pose as homeowners and invite suspected unlicensed individuals to come to the properties to give a project bid. If the bid is over $500, they are arrested and given a Notice to Appear in superior court to answer to the misdemeanor charges.

Those who participate may be paid a stipend for the use of their properties.

To participate, contact:

Northern SWIFT (Sacramento), 916.255.2924

Central SWIFT (Fresno), 559.490.0580

Southern SWIFT (Norwalk), 562.345.7600

left arrow right arrow

License Revocations     |      Past Issues