San Jose Operation Snags More Than One Dozen Unlicensed Operators


Important CSLB Bulletin: SACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Boards (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) netted 14 suspects in a San Jose undercover sting operation this week. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office assisted in the December 7, 2010 sting and a sweep of construction sites on December 8, which resulted in one citation for contracting with an expired license and another for failure to carry workers compensation insurance.

“In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever for consumers to hire licensed and insured contractors,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “People put themselves and family members at risk when they hire unlicensed and uninsured individuals who can end up doing substandard work or never finish the job. They also cheat law-abiding licensees out of work.”

During the sting operation, SWIFT investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids for painting, landscaping, concrete, and roofing jobs. Suspects who bid more than $500 for labor and materials received a notice to appear (NTA) in court. California law requires all home improvement jobs valued at more than $500 to be undertaken by a licensed contractor. Contractors also must place their state contractor license number in all advertisements. Unlicensed individuals may advertise and accept jobs valued at less than $500, but their ads must state that they are not a licensed contractor.
CSLB licensees must have at least four years of journey-level experience in their license classification and must pass exams pertaining to their trade and state contracting laws. State law requires that licensees purchase a license bond for consumer protection and that their employees have workers compensation coverage to shield homeowners from liability. Roofing contractors (C-39) must purchase workers compensation for themselves, even if they do not have employees.

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