Statewide sting nets 19 suspected unlicensed contractors in San Diego County

By Tanya Mannes/www.signonsandiego.com
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nineteen contractors in San Diego County were among 135 arrested last week during a statewide undercover operation seeking to identify people working without proper licensing.

The Contractors State License Board conducted the operation to spotlight the severe risks California consumers take when they hire unlicensed operators to work in and around their home.

Consumers often don’t realize the risk they run when hiring someone who is not licensed. Because these phony contractors don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, the homeowner could be liable if a worker is hurt on the job. Also, if something goes wrong or the project is abandoned, homeowners have few options for getting back their money.

“Consumers must check out the people they’re going to hire to work on their home to make sure they’re properly licensed,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “A family’s safety or finances could be jeopardized by not taking a few minutes to verify the contractor on CSLB’s website or through our toll-free phone system. We hope this blitz is a wake-up call for consumers to check the license first.”

To verify licensing, visit www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-CSLB.

Of those arrested statewide, some were registered sex offenders and others had warrants for arrest on suspicion of burglary, domestic violence or driving under the influence. (None of those cases were in San Diego County.)

The San Diego County operation received support from the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Insurance.

Investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team posed as homeowners or landlords, asking for bids on projects that ranged from landscaping, concrete and fencing to painting, gutters, garage doors, cabinets, tile work and tree trimming. Those who bid more than the legal limit of $500 for labor and materials received a notice to appear in Superior Court on suspicion of a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license.

Other charges included illegal advertising and soliciting excessive down payments.

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Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.