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California, Nevada Stage 'Border Blitz' Against Phony Contractors

Targeted News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 2 -- The California Department of Consumer Affairs' Contractors State License Board issued the following news release:

Taking a united stand against unlicensed contractors in their respective states, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and Nevada Contractors License Board (NSCB) conducted their third-ever simultaneous undercover sting operation on April 30, 2014, in the South Lake Tahoe area. The "Border Blitz" snared 11 people on the California side on illegal contracting charges, and eight in Nevada. Three of those caught in Nevada are licensed contractors in California. Click to enlarge picture

The stings were conducted on the California side at a single-family home in South Lake Tahoe, near the Highway 50 and 89 junction, and a condominium in Stateline, Nevada. Investigators from CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team(SWIFT) and NSCB posed as homeowners seeking bids for various projects that included exterior painting, deck work, landscaping, and other tasks requiring general "B" building contractor skills.

Those cited after giving bids in California were issued Notices to Appear in El Dorado County Superior Court'sSouth Lake Tahoe branch. The eight Nevada suspects are scheduled to answer charges in a Lake Tahoe, Nev., Justice Court.

As part of the cooperative effort between both Boards, a SWIFT investigator was at Nevada sting, while a Nevada counterpart was at the South Lake Tahoe operation. An investigator with the El Dorado County District Attorney assisted with the California-side sting.

All 11 suspects cited in California face misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license. Home improvement and construction jobs in California valued at $500 or more (combined labor and material costs) must be conducted by a company or person with a CSLB-issued license. Nine of the 11 were also cited on a misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising California law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise for jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor.

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Nevada's threshold for licensed contracting work is $1,000. All eight suspects caught in Stateline were cited for contracting without a license, and seven of them face an additional charge of advertising without a license. In Nevada, advertising contracting services without a license is illegal.

California and Nevada have a reciprocity agreement, which simplifies the application process for contractors in one state who want a license to work in the other.

The cooperative effort was lauded by CSLB CSLB Registrar Steve Sands and Margi A. Grein, NSCB's executive officer.

"This partnership is important in helping protect consumers from phony contractors, especially in areas near our joint border," Sands said. "It doesn't matter if someone is licensed in California, they can't cross the border and work unless they have a Nevada license." The three California licensed contractors could face CSLB discipline they're convicted of contracting without a license in Nevada.

Said Grein, "Nevada and California have demonstrated a firm commitment to protecting our citizens from the risks presented by unlicensed contractors who often carry no insurance, are not bonded and have not demonstrated competence in the work they perform."

Nevada State Contractors Board news release

Click here to view Table: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Newsroom/PressReleases/PressReleases2014/News20140502.asp

CSLB encourages consumers to always "Check The License First" by visiting www.cslb.ca.gov or calling CSLB's toll-free automated line 800.321.CSLB (2752). Also, visit CSLB's website for tips about how to hire a contractor and to sign up for CSLB Email Alerts.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). CSLB licenses and regulates California's 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2012-13, CSLB helped recover nearly $44 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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Copyright:(c) 2014 Targeted News Service
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