Atascadero non-licensed home remodeling sting nets 12

July 19, 2014

contractor arrestTwelve local home remodelers were among 94 statewide who face charges of contracting without a license after they were snared in a statewide undercover sting conducted this week, according to the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

CSLB investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids from people advertising on Craigslist for home improvements such as painting, electrical, decking, landscaping, flooring, drywall, fencing, concrete, and tree removal work. The investigators would then have the remodeler give a bid before citing those who broke the law.

Statewide, 82 people were cited for illegal advertising, state law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor.

Another 10 were cited for requesting an excessive down payment. In California, a home improvement project down payment cannot exceed 10 percent of the contract total or $1,000, whichever is less. This misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

Those arrested at a home in Atascadero include a suspect who had an arrest warrant from Imperial County, two repeat offenders; one was issued a notice to appear in 2009, the other in 2010, a previously licensed contractor who was warned in 2012 not to contract without a license, and a suspect who offered to build a deck for free – with materials he’d find on craigslist for free – if he’d be allowed to live in a camper that was on the property. The names of those cited were not released.

In Atascadero, CSLB investigators partnered with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Atascadero Police Department.


Watch a video of the Contractors State License Board stings in Rocklin and Corona on July 15-16:

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So “Our Hero’s” arrested a bunch of dangerous handymen. What job would cost less than $500 these days? People drop $10 in Starbucks for a latte and bagel. Get these cops and d.a.s to do some real work or lay some of them off!

Do they really need the bracelets with a trip to the cage? Can’t they just issue a citation to appear in court? What a colossal waste of law enforcement. They must like the “safe” bust.

What about all the illegal wage earners in this State? Why not go after them? Oh – that would be racist. Oh – and that would deprive the huge agriculture interests they’re gazillions of dollars. Oh -and that’s right, we would all starve when there’s no food. Oh – and that’s right, the majority of these illegal workers don’t compete for union trade jobs.

The bracelets and the trip are for officer safety and criminal identification. Sometimes, these “handymen” are wanted criminals who don’t take kindly to being arrested by some desk jockey from Sacramento. The trip to the pokey is to be finger printed and “identified”, because as you may know, not everyone is who they say they are.

Apparently the SLO County DA’s office, the CHP, the Sheriff AND the Atascadero PD are all well-funded and well-staffed enough that they can spare employees to help with this ridiculous “sting” operation.

Aren’t there bigger fish to fry–like gangbangers? Meth tweakers? Heroin junkies? Wife beaters? Child abusers? Bank robbers?

No–instead these four agencies focused their time on busting a guy who offered to build adeck w/recycled materials in return for a place to live.

Here is what I have to say about this sting. It’s all about the guy’s that have the money to get themselves a license, insurance and belong to unions but it isn’t about the best. I have a handy man who is what I call “naturally intelligent ” and is off the grid. He has saved me LITERALLY thousands of $$ and can fix anything. I do mean “anything” and fix it properly, up to code and at half the cost. He has done everything from my plumbing (and I mean a massive water leak from my property to the main line) to rebuilding my hot tub pumps to fixing my electrical garage doors and repairing an electrical line that was double cut into one area of my fuse box that eventually burned out and cut off the electrical to an entire area of my home (which had been done previously by a licensed contractor).

I don’t need a nanny gov and by the way, he replaced my heating system at half the cost several years ago and he also fixed my air conditioner. I’ve been using him for 10 years and everything he ever corrected/fixed has been at 100% operating condition ever since. I also know he wasn’t caught up in the sting because he is so GOOD that he is referred strictly by word of mouth. Now go “stuff it” and get the hell out of my life.

Good for you. But you must live in a very secluded, rural area free from nosy neighbors.

My friend used a similar handyman to upgrade his AC and a narky neighbor ratted him out.

Of course the county promptly sent a letter and now he has to pay up $$$ (no permit to replace AC).

Here’s what you need to know, Nancy, as pointed out by Beentheredonethat: “One thing that homeowners also need to realize……….they think, hey no big deal this guy takes all the risk being unlicensed. NO!! So do you the homeowner. If you pay them more then $600.00 you are now considered an employer. If they fall on your property and are injured, guess who is responsible? Guess who now has to pay Social Security taxes on them now? F.I.C.A? Any and everything employer related. So ask yourself…… good of a deal is a deal worth???”

You put yourself in a position of liability every time you hire contractors that have not met the legal requirements for doing business. When you get burned, don’t come running to any enforcement agency with your woes. Everybody always thinks “Oh he is such a nice guy and a good guy, he wouldn’t do that to me. But if one of these unlicensed professionals gets hurt on your job and can never work again, or causes the serious injury/death of someone while doing your job, trust me; they will come after you; because after all is said and done they won’t be able to provide an income…..and you will be able to do it for them, as a homeowner with insurance.

It has nothing to do with how good the contractor is, or a “nanny” government. The laws are to protect YOU, the consumer.

When contractors pay fees to provide legal work, IE; worker’s comp, employment taxes, training, etc. they are no longer able to compete with unlicensed workers. This has nothing to do with unions, it has to do with fair business practices and providing a safety net for consumers.

What you say is true but it is not the whole story. The problem comes when the licensed business owners in certain fields lobby the politicians to go beyond what is needed to establish competence in that field and make it very difficult to get the licenses simply to keep the competition down. (Structural Pest Control is one example.)

I don’t have a problem with the state establishing MINIMUM standards for knowledge and liability to operate as a contractor for many fields. The problem comes when they don’t settle for minimum standards needed but go overboard in making the operation of a simple, small business unreasonably expensive and unwieldy. Not only is this due to lobbying but it can also be due to bureaucrats expanding their power and control while rationalizing their jobs as more important than any other consideration in the process.

Yea it is also YOU Johnny homeowner that overburden the industry (with you apathy) as you want more environmental this or that, that adds to the cost of running a business. May I suggest you go read about CARB or Title 24. You think houses and new businesses are expensive now boys and girls??? Hold onto your hats, it is about to get REAL EXPENSIVE!! Oh and like all business who pays in the end? You know what they say flows downhill and guess who usually is at the bottom of said hill??

Does anyone have any idea what the fees are for a city like Atascadero to build a standard house before any land or construction costs? About $65,000 And then you throw the crap above on the shitheap and then you wonder why everything is so expensive? Wake up people. Oh and go to your local building supply place. Drywall, wood, plumbing, electrical, etc almost all material has at least doubled+ in last seven year alone.

Again it isn’t just the businesses here charging you for service to fix your house that are responsible for price increases, it is also a lot of people’s apathy that say………….go ahead and regulate it won’t affect me.

Yea the first time he gets hurt majorly at your place and can’t work, we’ll see if he throws you under the bus or not. Bet you can’t guess what I have my money on?

Glad to hear you support tax cheats.

Great Nancy. You should be sent to jail along with these scabs. You are conspiring to tax evasion which is a crime every time you hire your guy. What he is saving you is taking away from benefits that the rest of us are paying into. Maybe we should track you down so the government can deny you social security since you obviously approve of others avoiding paying into it. People like you are part of the problem. I am a contractor and I hate scabs and those who support them.

standup, I work as an independent contractor and I can assure you that I am required to pay my social security when I file my taxes just like you have to pay yours. What makes you think that unlicensed contractors don’t file their taxes?

Maybe because a lot are paid under the table. Common Cindy really?? Then whey don’t they just get on board? Because they don’t want to pay the lic. fees. Well if they don’t want to pay those fees what else are they most likely not wanting to pay??

Just another waste of time and money. The government thinks we are not smart enough to make our own decisions as to who we hire and how much we pay them. I have used unlicensed people from time to time such as painting landscaping window washing demolition clean up insulation. I understand that they have no license and no insurance but they are cheaper and frankly I cannot always afford to pay the top dollar for the guy who has to pay license fees insurance and maybe taxes. How many of these government experts actually have a license? I am just tired of the nanny state. Please use our massive taxes to help us not beat up a few guys who are trying to get by but just can’t seem to get onto the system with all of it’s costs.

It isn’t just about your protection. You said they have no lic. or insurance. That’s right and the contractor has to pay for those. So yes he will be more because he paid to protect you from getting sued. Also he paid his taxes etc. So the CSLB is also there to protect contractors interest as well as homeowners. It is also there to protect the states interest. All the unlicensed people you are paying are also not paying to the state.

Spoken by a true part of the problem. This sting was most likely pushed by local contractors that were tired of the people you hire. As a contractor myself, sayanora to these idiots. And yea, let’s just help a few guys get by while they take food off the plates of the men and women who have gone above and beyond to run a legitimate business. By your statement, why not just let people drive without a license or insurance for that matter. Stupidity at its best.

Case in point, standup. A low-income, elderly neighbor owns a vehicle that, per the

vehicle’s California license plate tags, has not been registered for years, which she

admits is true. Said neighbor loaned (“Loaner”) said vehicle to her “needy”

neighbor’s daughter (“Loanee”) who has known and documented drug addiction

issues. Loanee, by her own admission, was pulled over by law enforcement for the

expired registration. Loanee was given a notice to appear in court but skipped out.

Loaner sees no need to pay her vehicle registration fees. We imagine Loaner’s

California driver’s license has long since expired, too. Loaner is not an illegal

immigrant—merely a woman who habitually and intentionally skirts the law and goes on her merry way without giving it so much as a second thought.

So, whether it’s a wannabe contractor or your next door neighbor who believe laws

and regulations aren’t made with them in mind, the law-abiding citizens pay dearly

for the nonconformists among us who blatantly disregard the legal requirements that have been established for our own protection. And the selfishness just goes on and on and on.

Watch out for Shayne Wemple who used to own All County Window and Door. He did the same thing of 50% down, then did a switch on the windows and when I tried to bring him to court he filed bankruptcy. He loves to screw people over by claiming bankruptcy ever 7 years.

I don’t know what business scam he is running now but he is still in SLO county

Is he licensed?

Why should these guys follow the law when nobody else seems too. I see it every day in the news about how our government and a bunch of other people violate the law with no adverse consequences. Additionally, a lot of people have been scammed by licensed contractors for years. The Contractors board only cares about the money they charge contractors for the license fees. Just because you have a license does not mean you are a honest person.

That;s about as intelligent as saying, why not murder someone, other people do it and get away with it.

No one said everybody with a contractors license does a good job, it’s up to you the consumer to verify their services by getting references. The license does not ensure quality of work, only recourse.

The license does not guarantee recourse.

Not totally financially does lic. mean recourse but they can have their lic. suspended and there goes their ability to make money.

The hell it doesn’t. Each and every contractor has a bond that guarantees all work up to $12500.00. In addition, you have to have liabilty insurance that covers beyond that amount.

One thing that homeowners also need to realize……….they think, hey no big deal this guy takes all the risk being unlicensed. NO!! So do you the homeowner. If you pay them more then $600.00 you are now considered an employer. If they fall on your property and are injured, guess who is responsible? Guess who now has to pay Social Security taxes on them now? F.I.C.A? Any and everything employer related. So ask yourself…… good of a deal is a deal worth???

The sting for people breaking the contractor’s law I understand.

But this one? “A suspect who offered to build a deck for free – with materials he’d find on craigslist for free – if he’d be allowed to live in a camper that was on the property.” Is bartering against the law? Can anybody fill in the blanks and explain this one? What law was broken?

Bartering still has a monetary value attached to it. My guess is they figured that the cost of renting a space would be x amount and that exceeded it and the rent is in exchange for pay, so it is still considered pay.

Not sure what law, but that story down south about some couple who hired a nanny off craigslist to work in exchange for a room should scare the hell out of a arrangement like this. The hired nanny worked for a short time then refused to do anything and the couple couldn’t just kick her out because something about once she moved in she became a tenant and then lanlord/tenant laws in California kicked in and they had to evict her which took what a month or more…… yikes. So once this guy started living on the property the owners might have a hard time getting him off even if he finished building the deck.

Do a background check and check references. Problem solved.

Sometimes that is easier said than done. Some scam artists are good at hiding their tracks and unless you are equally good (or better) at investigating, you can still be taken with a simple background check and references.

Real easy if you use a licensed Contractor. You go to the CSLB website and check their status. Also check their bond status and check their insurance status. All that they have to provide upon request and if they don’t that is a red flag and you move along. Also ask to be additionally insured on their insurance if a big job. It is a rider for you. They can provide at no cost to them or you and again if not……………run.

This story was a case of a scam artist taking advantage of a homeowner but it was also a case of a homeowner trying to take advantage of hired help. What they asked for in exchange for the room was both miserly and illegal. It is hard to feel sympathy for them.

But, yeah, it is a cautionary tale for those who make deals to exchange rent for labor. Check references and background thoroughly.

“Over $500.00 in compensation” says they law.

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