10 Unlicensed Contractors Caught in Sting at Burned Home
(by James Lanaras) – Ten contractors face prosecution for felony contracting without a license in a declared disaster area after a sting operation at a fire-damaged home in Santa Rosa, the Contractors State License Board said today.
The CSLB targeted unlicensed contractors and those advertising illegally on Craigslist who responded Saturday to a sting house where only part of a garage remained in a Santa Rosa burn area.
Thirteen contractors from the Bay Area responded and 10 face a fine up to $10,000 or three years in prison or both on the felony charge.
CSLB investigators posing as owners of the home received bids for framing and rough carpentry on a 200-square-foot room, or re-establishing electrical or plumbing service to the structure.
Bids for the framing job ranged between $850 to $13,000, for plumbing between $1,500 and $4,500 and one electrical bid for $2,100.
Two of the contractors also face a felony charge of illegally using a contractor license number and two were formerly licensed contractors – one whose license expired in 2003 and the other whose license expired in
2010. They face up to one year in prison and a fine up to $10,000 or both.
All 13 contractors face a misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising.
The CSLB and the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office are seeing unlicensed contractors looking for tree removal and fencing jobs in burn areas during weekly sweeps.
“That’s why fire survivors need to be extra vigilant and make sure the contractor they hire is properly licensed and qualified to do the needed work,” CSLB Registrar David Fogt said in a news release.
“We will continue to work with the CSLB to identify and prosecute those who are violating the law,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.