What The Contractors State License Board Wants You To Know About Illegal Contractors
June 15, 2006
Though I normally focus my column on the subject of trees, this month I feel it is imperative to address the subject of unlicensed contractors and licensed contractors who operate outside of the law. After receiving the latest Contractors State License Board (CSLB) newsletter, I once again was reminded of how vulnerable consumers are when they contract for all types of work to be performed at their homes and businesses. Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care feels it is our moral and ethical responsibility to help protect consumers from fraud.
The CSLB works with Federal, Sate, and Local Agencies to combat what is now a $60 to $140 billion dollar underground economy. By not paying the normal taxes and fees, which are required of all of us, funds to finance public services, roads, law enforcement, and public schools go to line the pockets of those who are contracting illegally.
The CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) conducts stings and enforcement sweeps in cooperation with local Law Enforcement Agencies in order to combat the rising problem of illegal contractors.
A number of stings were held in various Counties throughout the State over the last few months. A sting was held in San Luis Obispo in cooperation with the SLO District Attorney’s Office and Police Department. Two men were arrested on outstanding warrants, 28 were given notices to appear because they were unlicensed, and 8 more are under further investigation.
In San Carlos a sting operation caught two registered sex offenders. A Contra Costa County man who showed up to bid illegally for tree services is listed on Megan’s Law Website, while another bidding on concrete work was arrested for an outstanding warrant for lewd and lascivious acts with a child.
”The arrest of people with outstanding warrants highlights how important it is for homeowners to be cautious when inviting anyone into their house”, explained CSLB Registrar Steve Sands.
In a sweep conducted in Sacramento where 73 construction sites were visited 31 of them were given stop order notices due to violations. A repeat offender cited during the sweep is facing multiple charges, which include child labor violations.
Here in the Santa Ynez Valley there are a big number of unlicensed contractors and licensed contractors acting outside the law. They advertise their services in the local paper, phone book, and on bulletin boards. Many of the ads in our local paper are for those who are contracting for work but are not licensed. One licensed contractor is illegally advertising for work which is outside the scope for which he holds a license. A number of those advertising are using license numbers which are fraudulent. A gardener advertising his services by placing his business card on local bulletin boards is fraudulently using a contractor’s license number of a company located in Redwood City without their knowledge. They were shocked when notified and have asked the CSLB for their assistance.
Local Law Enforcement does investigate job sites. They can and do shut down jobs, issue citations and while doing so have arrested individuals on outstanding warrants.
Check out the contractor you hire. See our informative page Choosing a Contractor, www.cslb.ca.gov, “10 tips for making sure your contractor measures up” or call the State Contractors License Board at 1-800-321-CSLB.
Printed in Part from CSLB Summer Newsletter
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