CSLB Catches Offenders in Sacramento County Sting

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG)  |  Contractors State License Board Press Release

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Breaking state contracting laws has once again caught-up with a Sacramento area offender who has a history of unlicensed contracting activity – he was caught for illegal contracting in a sting last year. The repeat offender was one of 13 cited in a sting last week in Gold River.

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) coordinated the undercover operation in a single family home near Mather Airport on June 12-13. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and Rancho Cordova Police Department were partners in the sting.

CSLB investigators contacted alleged unlicensed contractors to bid on home improvement projects like painting the exterior of the home, masonry, electrical, and pouring concrete.

A total of 13 showed-up at the sting house to give estimates. They offered bids between $930 for electrical and $12,000 for pouring concrete – well over the legal threshold for contracting without a license.

In California, it’s illegal to bid over $500 on contracting jobs for both labor and materials combined (Business and Professions Code (BPC) §7028(a)). A first conviction penalty could result in fines of up to $5,000 and/or by imprisonment in county jail for up to six months.

One of those cited is a repeat offender. Jacob Daniel Cobb was caught in a Roseville sting March 2018. He pled no contest and was sentenced to three years of probation. If charged, second offences include a fine of $5,000, twenty percent of the contract price, or twenty percent of the aggregated payments (whichever is greater) and up to 90 days in county jail (BPC §7028(c)).

“Our goal is for any suspect who qualifies for a contractor’s license to get one,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “When they get caught a second time, they’re showing they’d rather put homeowners at risk than follow the law. That’s why it’s critical for consumers to check for a contractor’s license before hiring anyone to work in or around their homes.”

Consumers can get license info by running an “Instant License Check” on CSLB’s website. They can also get a list of licensed contractors in their area by using the “Find My Licensed Contractor” feature to search for licensed contractors by city or ZIP code.

Twelve suspects may face a second misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising. Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements and unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license (BPC § 7027.1). The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000.

One of the suspects did not carry workers' compensation insurance policies to cover those working for them (Labor Code § 3700.5). This case resulted in a "stop order" (a legal demand to cease all employee labor at a jobsite), as the unlicensed individual brought his hired help with him to the home.

Additionally, one suspect may also be charged with asking for an excessive down payment. (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)). The legal limit for a down payment is 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.

All suspects were ordered to appear on a future date at the Sacramento County Superior Court, 720 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

NOTE: All suspects are presumed innocent until their case is resolved.

For more information or a list of the offenders see www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com