Five-county sting catches more than a hundred unlicensed operators.
A sweep of contractors working in the Castaic area netted
more than two dozen offenders who were cited (one was booked) for advertising
and/or operating without a license.
Santa Clarita area companies and individuals who were caught in the sting
included those cited for advertising/acting in the capacity of a contractor
without a license:
- Claes Peterson Green from Santa Clarita, operating as 24
Hour Handyman/Santa Clarita Handyman, flooring
- Ryan Sariff Zamora (who was arrested), from Castaic, providing
- Pedro Aguirre of Saugus,
operating as Pedro’s Landscaping, concrete
- Steven Ervin Mueller of Valencia,
operating as Mueller’s Home Repair, drywall and painting
- David Michael Carter of Santa Clarita, concrete and
- Javier Angeles Hernandez of Canyon Country, operating as
Javier Angeles Drain Lines, concrete
- Romulo M. Sanchez-Hernandez of Santa Clarita, operating as
Romulo Sanchez Painting, painting. He was cited with an additional charge of requesting
excessive down payment
And cited for operating as an unregistered sales person was Jeffrey
Cole Scott of Quartz Hill, operating as Low Cost Handyman Service
The sweep was conducted by the Contractors State License
Board as part of an undercover sting operation in five Southern
California counties. The sweep was conducted March 10 and 11 with
18 board investigators, working in cooperation with the California Department
of Insurance, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County
During the Castaic sting, 26 Notices to Appear were issued
along with two Administrative Citations.
According to a press release issued by the board,
investigators posed as homeowners and invited suspected unlicensed operators to
houses to bid on various construction jobs, ranging from landscaping, fencing
and concrete to cabinets, roofing and painting.
“Many consumers don’t realize the risk they take when they
hire a phony contractor to work on their home,” said CSLB Registrar Steve
Sands. “With the tough economic times, unlicensed operators seem to be even
more aggressive in their methods of going after business.”
Because unlicensed operators don’t carry workers’
compensation insurance, they often submit lower project bids. If a worker is injured
on the job, the homeowner could be liable.
Unlicensed people who answered calls and bid more than $500
on contracting jobs were arrested and given “Notices to Appear” before a
Superior Court judge where they will answer to the misdemeanor charges listed
above, which carry a maximum of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine for the
first offense. A second violation carries a mandatory 90-day jail sentence.
The CSLB recommends that consumers follow these tips when
hiring a contractor:
- Be especially hesitant when approached by someone offering
home improvement services door-to-door.
- Verify the contractor’s license by checking online at www.cslb.ca.gov or visit CSLB’s automated
phone service at (800) 321-CSLB.
- Don’t pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is
- Don’t pay in cash and don’t let payments get ahead of work.
- Check references, get three bids and a written contract.
- Contact CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
In addition, those wishing to check the license status of a repair person should go to the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair at www.bear.ca.gov.