Investigators in a statewide undercover sting operation by the Contractors State License Board this week caught more than seven dozen contractors including 13 in Madera County on suspicion of operating without a license and other violations.
The spring California blitz, as the operation is called, nabbed known criminals and repeat offenders on Tuesday and Wednesday in seven cities , the board announced during a Friday morning news conference in Madera.
“One of the suspects was brazenly using a contractor license number that belongs to a legitimate contractor,” Cindi A. Christenson, the board’s registrar, said in a news release. “Always be sure to check your contractor’s license number on the CSLB website and ask the contractor for photo identification to verify the person’s identity.”
All the contractors arrested in Madera — some who work out of Clovis, Fresno and Selma — were charged with operating without a license and illegal advertising. Two were issued stop work orders.
The board’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team partnered with local law enforcement agencies to conduct the operations. Investigators called suspected unlicensed operators for home improvement bids on projects such as painting, landscaping, sprinklers, pool maintenance, cabinetry, electrical, wrought iron and fencing.
The penalty for contracting without a license for a first conviction is up to six months in jail or a fine up to $5,000.
State law requires contractors to place their license numbers on all advertisements. Those without a license can perform jobs less than $500, but must advertise that they are not a licensed contractor. Illegal advertising can result in a fine of $700 to $1,000.
A stop work order is issued when an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance coverage for workers. The penalty could include 60 days in jail and a fine up to $10,000.