Illegal Ads on Craigslist Catch Unlicensed Contractors
Dozens of people now may face criminal charges after being caught in simultaneous undercover sting operations conducted by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) March 25-27, 2014, in nine California locations.
Among the 121 individuals arrested during CSLB's spring California Blitz were repeat offenders, a man who is awaiting trial on an assault with a deadly weapon charge, and someone who was caught in not one, but two different stings.
Investigators from CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), along with partners from a variety of local law enforcement agencies, conducted the stings in Bass Lake (Madera County), Clovis (Fresno County), Dana Point (Orange County), Hanford (Kings County), Palos Verdes Estates (Los Angeles County), Sacramento (Sacramento County), San Jose (Santa Clara County), Vista (San Diego County), and Woodland (Yolo County).
SWIFT investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids for home improvements such as painting, drywall, landscaping, decking, cabinets, flooring, fencing, masonry, concrete, and tree removal work.
After seeing his ad posted on craigslist.org, CSLB investigators invited Martin Villegas, of North Highlands, to the Sacramento sting. Villegas showed up with two other men and gave a $1,200 bid for landscaping work. That led to his first Notice to Appear (NTA) for contracting without a license.
His brush with the law didn't appear to slow down Villegas. The next day he showed up after being invited to a sting location in nearby Woodland. Villegas gave a different team of CSLB undercover investigators a $2,150 bid for exterior painting, landscaping, and concrete work.
That led to Villegas's second NTA in two days.
One suspect caught in the Clovis sting is actually a licensed contractor. But, Jeffrey Daniel Jimenez's license (#849108) was suspended last September after he failed to reimburse his bond company for a $1,700 payout it made to a consumer.
A number of the suspects targeted during the operation were on CSLB's radar after having consumer complaints filed against them. In one case, a suspect was cited by CSLB after a refusing to take care of a paint job he botched. The suspect was more than willing to give an undercover investigator $1,200 bid for painting. That earned the suspect a date in front of a superior court judge.
Of the 121 individuals arrested, 115 now may face misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license (Business and Professions Code section 7028). The penalty for a conviction is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Ninety-four suspects also may be charged with illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code section 7027.1). State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor. The penalty is a fine of $700 to $1,000.
Seven others may be charged with requesting an excessive down payment (Business and Professions Code section 7159.5). In California, a home improvement project down payment cannot exceed 10 percent of the contract total or $1,000, whichever is less. This misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
Nineteen of the phony contractors also were issued Stop Orders (Business and Professions Code section 7127). CSLB investigators can halt job site activity when any person with or without a contractor license does not have workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees. Failure to comply with a Stop Order can result in misdemeanor charges and penalties, including 60 days in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
Blitz totals may increase as some suspects are expected to provide their bids to undercover investigators via text, email or fax at a later date. A majority of those caught this week were identified through illegal ads posted on craigslist.org.
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesCarmel Valley: Land of Honey, Wine & ArtCarmel Valley, CA- Just a short scenic drive inland from Carmel-by-the-Sea lies a delightful little village tucked in the hills that sometimes and undeservedly gets overlooked by travelers in favor of its more popular coastal neighbors.
Roseville Moose Lodge Charity Golf Tournament May 20thRoseville, CA- The Roseville Moose Lodge will be holding its second annual charity golf tournament Saturday, May 20 at Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin
Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation welcomes new president and board memberAuburn - Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation announces the appointment of a new board president, Robert Frew and board member, Suzi deFosset.
Lincoln MKZ: Luxury sedan has lots to offerRoseville, CA- We test drove the 2017 Lincoln MKZ recently for a week and came away impressed.
Corky's Corner: Golden Age Mic Pre 73 ReviewRoseville, CA- If you have a budget or bedroom studio and you are looking for a Neve type Pre amp look no further. The Golden Age Pre is for you.
Roseville Gas Prices Cool as Warmer Temps Move InRoseville, CA- Gas prices in Roseville experienced a slight dip this past week. That's good news as the forecast shows warmer spring weather finally returning to Northern California
American Sign Language Bicentennial Celebration at WJUROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University's American Sign Language (ASL) club will host "ASL Day for All" on Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the growing university
Chicago the TRIBUTE to play Opera House Saloon in Roseville(ROSEVILLE, CA) - Chicago the TRIBUTE, a 9-piece tribute to the band with the horns and hits will be playing the Opera House Saloon Roseville on Thursday, March 30
Roseville Criminal Activity Heats UpRoseville, CA- As the weather heats up, so does Roseville criminal activity. The Roseville police log digest update for the ten-day period covering March 10-20, 2017.
Free STD and STI Testing and Treatment in Roseville(Roseville, CA) - Sierra Pregnancy & Health (SPH) announced they have begun offering free testing and treatment for STD/STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia
Placer County Government Center ProposalAUBURN, Calif. -- After considerable analysis, stakeholder engagement, design and planning, the Placer County Board of Supervisors were presented a plan for a re-envisioned Placer County Government
Ghost in the Shell coming to IMAXGhost in the Shell: An IMAX 3D Experience opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on March 30 at 7:00 p.m
NEWS: In Case You Missed It