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Contractors Stung in ‘Border Blitz’

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

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Authorities in California and Nevada have rounded up 19 unlicensed residential contractors in a joint “border blitz” sting operation that focused on the South Lake Tahoe area.

The April 30 joint operation was the third by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB). The roundup snared 11 people on the California side and eight on the Nevada side on charges of illegal contracting. Most were also charged with illegal advertising.

The contractors offered general home improvement, painting and decorating, masonry and other services.

Licensing, Advertising Violations

The stings were conducted at a single-family home in South Lake Tahoe, CA, and at a condominium in Stateline, NV.

Contractor sting

Authorities posing as homeowners invited in contractors to bid on various projects. In California, only licensed contractors may bid on projects of $500 or more. In Nevada, the threshold is $1,000.

Investigators from both agencies posed as homeowners seeking bids for exterior painting, deck work, landscaping, and other tasks requiring general “B” building contractor skills, according to announcements from both CSLB and NSCB

The 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 put their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Unlicensed contractors may advertise for jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor.

Nevada’s threshold for licensed contracting work is $1,000. The eight Nevada suspects were cited for contracting without a license; seven were also charged with advertising without a license. In Nevada, advertising contracting services without a license is illegal.

Authorities released this video of some of the sting operation as it unfolded.

All of those cited were issued notices to appear in court.

Reciprocity Agreement

California and Nevada have a reciprocity agreement, which simplifies the application process for contractors in one state to obtain a license in the other. Three of the contractors rounded up in Nevada were licensed only in California.

“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," said Margi A. Grein, NSCB’s executive officer.

CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said the joint action was important in helping protect consumers from phony contractors, especially in areas near our joint border." The California board, a branch of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses and regulates about 300,000 contractors.


Tagged categories: Contractors State License Board; Enforcement; Licensing; Regulations; Residential contractors

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