SACRAMENTO (AP) — A statewide sting has nabbed 112 unlicensed contractors who could face criminal charges for offering home repair services in seven cities, a state board said.
During the two-day sting last week, investigators posing as homeowners called suspected unlicensed operators asking for bids on painting, landscaping, masonry, tree removal and other work.
All of the suspects could face misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license, according to the California Contractors State License Board. The charge carries a maximum possible penalty of six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The agency says 11 of the suspects were repeat offenders.
It said 88 of the suspects might face fines up to $1,000 for not including their license numbers in advertising or failing to disclose that they are not licensed and therefore can't bid on projects over $500.
Six could be charged with requesting excessive down payments, which by state law cannot exceed 10 percent of a contract or $1,000, whichever is less.
Most of the suspects were sent notices to appear in court at a later date, but five had outstanding arrest warrants. Two were on probation and one was a registered sex offender.
In Alhambra, three suspects were booked into jail on outstanding warrants related to drugs, traffic offenses and prior illegal contracting charges.
"If you knew their backgrounds, you'd never allow them into your home," licensing board registrar Steve Sands said in a statement.
Other places involved in the sting were in Aptos, Chula Vista, Castro Valley, Montecito, Rancho Mirage and West Sacramento.
One repeat offender in Montecito, in Santa Barbara County, was so upset at being caught for the second time that he tried to put a hex on the investigators, the board said.
Three were using license numbers that belong to legitimate contractors.
The board advised homeowners to require photo identification after checking license numbers at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling 800-321-2757.
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