More than 120 unlicensed contractors were arrested this week, including nearly a dozen in Los Angeles County, as part of a statewide sting, officials announced today.
Six people were arrested in Rancho Palos Verdes, including a repeat offender with an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court on a previous charge of contracting without a license. The contractor had bid $48,000 to build a driveway, according to the Contractors State License Board.
Fraud investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids on home improvements in nine areas across the state, starting Tuesday, according to the CSLB.
Of the 121 people arrested, 115 may face misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine up to $5,000, the CSLB reported.
"We would just encourage consumers to be very careful when you are to hire people to come out to your house to do a job," said Rick Lopes of the CSLB. "The best thing you can do is to make sure they have a contractors license."
Others craftsmen are accused of charging an excessive down payment. Nineteen crews were issued stop orders, because they had no workers' compensation insurance, the CSLB reported.
"If you have an illegal worker out there ... your insurance is not going to cover it,"' Lopes said, adding that homeowners could be made to pay the medical bills of anyone injured on their land.
In Sacramento, Martin Villegas of North Highlands is accused of showing up two days in a row without a contracting license for landscaping work.
"We want those kind of unlicensed people to know we are out there. We conduct these operations every week and we might not catch you today, but we're going to catch you next week or the week after," Lopes said.
--City News Service