BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Fourteen contractors in Bakersfield were listed last month as part of a covert operation to combat unlicensed contracts.
The Contractors State License Board worked with the Kern District Attorney and the State Department of Insurance on the operation, which resulted in 14 contractors being cited for allegedly illegal home improvement projects.
In addition, the CSLB said that some of the contractors did not get the right workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
“Those who work for contractors without a California state license can potentially harm the public, undermine the integrity of the construction industry, and remove work from law-abiding licensed contractors by working in the underground economy,” said CSLB registrar David Fogt.
For the operation, the Board’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team contacted suspected unlicensed contractors through their promotion of construction work. The agents then posed as homeowners and invited suspects to bid on a single-family home near Meadows Field Airport.
Of the people contacted, the CSLB stated that 14 had submitted offers for fences, floors, landscaping, electrics and painting. The bids ranged from $ 1,200 to $ 17,500.
The CSLB said 12 of the suspects are now facing illegal contract fees for bidding well above the legal threshold of $ 500 that requires a contractor’s license, and two have been referred to prosecutors for further processing Referred to Kern County.
Penalties for first-time convictions for contracting without a license in California include up to six months in prison and / or fines of up to $ 5,000. According to the board of directors, all 14 people are confronted with an additional felony fee for their illegal advertising.
Licensed contractors are required to display their license number on all advertisements, and unlicensed contractors are required to indicate that they do not have a license on all advertisements for work valued at less than $ 500, according to the CSLB.
The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is $ 700 to $ 1,000.
“Legitimate contractors who abide by the rules shouldn’t have to compete with unlicensed contractors who refuse to adhere to even the most basic consumer protection laws,” said Cynthia Zimmer, district attorney at heart. “Compliance with licensing terms helps ensure the integrity of all contract industries and protects consumers who rely on contractors’ expertise.”
Twelve of the suspects who did not have the proper compensation insurance for workers for them will have to pay additional fees, according to the CSLB.
The board said contractors must take out workers’ compensation insurance if they have workers. If contractors do not have employees, they must file an employee compensation waiver which is noted in the license log.
Eleven of the suspects who violated workers’ compensation regulations also received a stop order, a legal request to hire all workers on a construction site for violating state compensation insurance requirements, the CSLB said.
Consumers are encouraged to verify a contractor’s license status by performing an “Instant License Check” on the CSLB website by entering the contractor’s license number, name, or company name.
The search results show whether the contractor’s license is active and / or in good condition. Homeowners can also use CSLB’s Find My Licensed Contractor feature to compile and download a list of qualified licensed contractors in their area.
The following were cited: Walter Hugo Mayta Tinoco, Stephen David Lewis, Maurisco Lopez, Bryan Galizien, Thomas Fahmi Badwi, Miguel Felix Hernandez, Edwin Pimentel, Rafa Landa, Humbert Jilmer versus Colquechagua, Jose Medina Negrete, Jose Leobardo Aguilar, Raymond Figueroa and Eric Lee Hogan.