A dozen undercover sting operations by the Contractors State License Board last week caught 76 contractors, including nine in Fresno, on suspicion of operating without a license, illegally advertising and other violations.
The board’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team partnered with local law enforcement agencies in seven cities between Oct. 13 and 15 to target suspected contractors. Investigators posed as homeowners and called the operators for home improvement bids like remodels, painting, fencing and concrete work.
Seventy-four contractors may face charges for contracting without a license, while two may be charged with acting as a salesperson without a registration, the board said. In Fresno, nine contractors, whose bids ranged from $1,100 to $5,680, were issued notices to appear in Fresno County Superior Court.
The suspects, from Clovis, Fresno, Friant and Sanger, answered the call for bids during the two-day Fresno sting. One suspect who received a notice may have tipped off two other men who planned to meet with investigators but never showed up, the board said.
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We can’t stress enough the importance of making sure anyone you hire to work near your home or family has a state license.
Cindi Christenson, Contractors State License Board registrar
Other violations included illegal advertising and asking for an excessive down payment. State law requires all contractors to place their license number on advertisements. Those without a license can perform jobs less than $500 but must advertise that they are not a licensed contractor. Down payments cannot exceed 10 percent of the contract total or $1,000, whichever is less.
Penalties include jail time or fines up to $5,000.