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Undercover stings net 29 suspected unlicensed contractors in Southern California

Undercover stings conducted in the cities of Orange and Long Beach turned up more than two dozen contractors around Southern California who were cited for operating without a license. Investigators with the Contractors State License Board’s fraud team put together leads compiled from Craigslist, Yelp, business cards, and local ads. Posing as homeowners, investigators invited contractors they suspected of being unlicensed to bid on home improvement projects. Painting bids averaged about $4,000. In Orange, quotes ranged from $2,500 for a wood fence to $22,000 for new pavers, the license board said in a news release. All 29 people who placed bids were cited for contracting without a state license. Unlicensed operators can only take on construction-related jobs costing less than $500 for materials and/or labor, according to state law. “Online sites and local advertisements do not always verify whether a business is legitimate or not,” said David Fogt, a license board registrar. “This is why it is important for consumers to do their homework and verify the contractor’s license with CSLB before hiring someone to work on their home.” Twenty-eight suspects also were cited for illegal advertising, according to the license board. State law requires unlicensed contractors to note in all advertising that they are not licensed. The penalty is a fine of $700 to $1,000. One suspect also was cited for requesting an excessive down payment. A down payment on a home improvement contract cannot exceed $1,000 or 10 percent of the total contract price, whichever is less, the license board said. The penalty could be six months in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. The Long Beach Police Department, the Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation and the California Department of Insurance assisted in the stings. The alleged violations will be referred to prosecutors. ORANGE STING Contractors cited for operating without a license and illegal advertising include (city denotes residence): Abel Castillon-Robels, Corona Jose Mendoza Carreno, Orange Raymond Joseph Mangiofico, Ray’s Landscape Design, Orange Fredrico Alavez, Alavez Painting, Santa Ana Rubin Anthony Quintero, Q and Q Professional Painting, Redlands Ivan Paul Biazevich, Ivan’s House Services, Anaheim Said Sam Saboohi, Sam General Services, Irvine Jesus Ruelas Sandoval, Ruelas Tile, Santa Ana Samuel Perez Porcayo, Gladiators Marble and Granite, La Habra Diego Cortes-Garcia, Santa Ana Andrew Arbuckle, Mission Viejo Cited for contracting without a license: Jose Antonio Guerra Palomares, Highland Cited for contracting without a license, illegal advertising and excessive down payment: Jose Leandro Cortes Mino, Pipila Stone, Santa Ana LONG BEACH STING Contractors cited for operating without a license and illegal advertising (city denotes residence: Nelson Alexander Garcia-Morales, Bell Gardens Jose Sanchez. Long Beach Jesus Tamayo-Berrospe. Long Beach Luis Melchor, Inglewood Antonio Rojo, Anaheim Pablo Angel Ortiz, Lakewood Alejandro Ramos, Whittier Octavio Chavez, Paramount Michel Vargas-Galindo, Bell Gardens Rigoberto Vasquez-Ibarra, Los Angeles Marco Antonio Silva Leon, Marco Painting Services, Costa Mesa Dennis Paul Morawski, Long Beach Miguel Rodriguez Meza, Lakewood Rene DeMarc, Long Beach Jorge Juan Jimenez-Roque, Long Beach Daniel Van Auken, Long Beach Consumers can check contractor licenses at cslb.ca.gov or by calling 800-321-CSLB.

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