Unlicensed Contractors Cited in Tahoe Sting Operation
Sacramento, CA – The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) collaborated with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office in a recent undercover operation targeting unlicensed contractors. The operation, conducted in late May in the Lake Tahoe area, resulted in seven unlicensed persons receiving a Notice to Appear in criminal court for allegedly acting in the capacity of a contractor without the required license. These suspects now face legal consequences, including fines and potential imprisonment.
Working in conjunction with the El Dorado County DA’s Office, CSLB deployed its Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) to execute a strategic sting operation. As part of the operation, the suspects were invited to submit bids for various residential construction projects at a designated property.
During the sting operation, CSLB and law enforcement officials cited seven individuals for submitting bids that exceeded the legal limit of $500. The bid amounts varied, ranging from $1,500 to more than $8,000. In accordance with California contractor state license laws, any bids exceeding the limit are considered violations of contracting without a license. Contracting without a valid license is a misdemeanor offense in California, carrying penalties of fines of up to $15,000 and potential imprisonment. CSLB is committed to enforcing these laws to protect consumers from unscrupulous individuals engaging in unlicensed contracting activities.
Furthermore, the unlicensed contractors cited in this operation may also face additional charges for advertising their construction services without possessing the required license. According to California law, it is illegal for anyone to advertise construction or home improvement work without a valid license in the advertised classification. If contracting services are advertised by someone who is unlicensed, the advertisement must state that they are unlicensed. Even with this disclosure, an unlicensed individual can only provide bids and perform work for jobs valued at less than $500 (including materials and labor).
“CSLB remains steadfast in its efforts to safeguard homeowners from the dangers posed by unlicensed contractors,” said David Fogt, CSLB Registrar. “We continuously educate consumers on the importance of hiring licensed contractors, and we urge homeowners to take a few minutes to verify a contractor’s license before proceeding with any construction project in California.”
During the sting operation, some of the individuals demanded excessive down payments prior to commencing work. Under California law, contractors are limited to requesting no more than 10% of the project cost or $1,000, whichever amount is lower. Violating this provision constitutes a misdemeanor offense, punishable by fines of up to $5,000 or a potential one-year county jail sentence, or both.
CSLB reminds the public to remain vigilant and report any suspected unlicensed contracting activities. To verify a contractor’s license or file a complaint, please visit CSLB’s official website at www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
About CSLB: CSLB operates under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs and licenses and regulates about 285,000 contractors in California.