A recent undercover sting operation in Rancho Murieta indicates that the statewide drought has provided illegal contractors with a new angle in approaching conservation-minded property owners, according to the Contractors State License Board.
The agency’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team, with assistance from the state Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation, netted 11 people accused of illegal, unlicensed home improvement contracting during the sting operation conducted Thursday in the gated community.
A $3,800 bid was given to investigators for drought-resistant landscaping by an unlicensed operator, a bid that far exceeded the legal limit of $500 in combined labor and materials charges for unlicensed contractors working in the construction industry, according to a Contractors State License Board news release.
Eleven individuals were accused of illegal contracting after seeking bids for exterior painting, fencing and landscaping jobs, and each faces misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license, officials said.
Nine suspects face additional charges of illegal advertising. Contractors must place their license number in all advertisements. Those without licenses may advertise to do jobs valued at less than $500, but the ads must state that they are not licensed contractors.
Those receiving notices to appear in Sacramento Superior Court for arraignment March 27, along with their license classifications and alleged violations:
The Contractors State License Board encourages consumers to always check the license of a prospective contractor via the board’s website at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling a toll-free automated line (800) 321-2752. The board’s website also offers tips on how to hire a contractor and allows consumers to sign up for the agency’s email alerts.