CSLB Catches Offenders in Sacramento County Sting
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.
DAY 1 – JUNE 12, 2019
The following are suspects’ names, city of residence, license classification, and alleged violations:
Jorge Maradiegue Ramos, Sacramento; C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor; Contracting without a license, Illegal Advertising & Excessive down payment
Joganes Manukyan, Sacramento; C-15 Flooring Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertising
Jacob Cobb, Elk Grove; C-29 Masonry Contractor; Contracting without a license
DAY 2 – JUNE 13, 2019
Ruben Diaz Duarte, Sacramento; C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Sione Maafu, Sacramento; C-8 Concrete Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Francisco Rodriguez Moralez, Woodland; C-8 Concrete Contractor; Contracting without a license, No workers’ compensation & Illegal advertisement
Denise Mallory, Sacramento; C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Gerald Kelly, Sacramento; C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Milad Aria, Concord; C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Hassan Mohammadnejad, Stockton; C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Olman Enrique, Sacramento; C-33 Painting and Decorating; Contracting without a license & Illegal advertisement
Dean Montgomery, Sacramento; C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor; Contracting without a license & illegal advertisement
Armando Martinez Mendoza, Sacramento; C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering Contractor; Contracting without a license & illegal advertisement