SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO (CBS) — Officials say nearly two dozen arrests were made in an undercover sting in San Juan Capistrano, one of nine cities targeted in a statewide crackdown on unlicensed contractors.

Nearly half of the 21 unlicensed contractors busted in Orange County during the Oct. 20-21 operation organized by the Contractors State License Board were in the swimming pool business.

“The swimming pool industry worked with us, so we were able to target people working in the industry without a license,” said CSLB spokesman Rick Lopes.

Investigators posed as homeowners soliciting contractors for work such as laying tile or concrete or installing swimming pools. Investigators found the contractors through online and newspaper advertisements and leads from licensed workers.

If the bids were above $500 for labor and materials, the state maximum for unlicensed work, the contractors were given a misdemeanor citation for contracting without a license or illegal advertising, Lopes said. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and a $5,000 fine for a first offense.

The unlicensed workers were encouraged to get a license, Lopes said, adding that they were given applications.

“Our goal isn’t to necessarily put them out of business,” Lopes said. “Our goal is to get them to follow the law.”

None of those cited in Orange County had outstanding arrest warrants.

The stings across the state led to 111 arrests, including one sex offender. Those cited in Orange County were ordered to appear in court Jan. 20.

Unlicensed work can pose many problems for homeowners, Lopes said. For instance, if a worker is hurt on the job and the unlicensed contractor does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the homeowner could be on the hook for medical expenses, Lopes said.

Some con artists will ask for half the cost of the job as a down-payment, which is against state law, and then disappear without doing any of the work, Lopes said.

The license costs $350, but some contractors likely avoid doing the paperwork to skip the expense of workers’ compensation insurance or taxes, Lopes said.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. P Guadalupe says:

    The guy in the photo is doing a lousy job of cleaning that pool. Gringos…

  2. Madam California says:

    ICK Guadalupe! Don’t like my meat greasy. You keep him. if you can. but then maybe he doesn’t like pork.

    1. Pavo says:

      A little grease keeps that dry white turkey meat from squeaking
      Especially if it’s stuff in the rear

  3. foxy treason says:

    I dont like greay dark meat myself and i clean my own pool. id rather keep my money than pass it on todishonest lawbreakers.

  4. P Guadalupe says:

    You like dry-ass white meat then?

  5. Voice of Reason says:

    This exchange between the posters is so funny. P Guadalupe and treason for any reason make a good point.

  6. Oscar says:

    Amen to that….. X

  7. Josh Todd Skyler McDonald says:

    white people can’t do anything for themselves…making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is as far as they go

  8. TerryK says:

    Beware! The next busts will be for unpermitted construction and alterations. These citations will actually generate revenue for the cities.

  9. Mel Gibson says:

    hmmm. I’ve called the CSLB to report people doing Unlicensed work and they seem to make it so hard to report someone it’s not worth the trouble

  10. WaLLy says:

    I guess everyone here ‘assumes’ the contractors
    were Latino, Hispanic, Mexican, etc
    Perhaps a number were, out of the 111 arrest throughout the state
    Most likely the contractor was American and he picked up his crew at Home depot

  11. Lickity Spit says:

    I wouldn’t call banging el jefes’ pinche fea wongo wife winning!!!

    1. Voice of Reason says:

      LOL Too funny

  12. LOL says:

    where did “rich gringo’s” comment go??? guess he deleted it?? very offensive… i’m hispanic..he probably deleted it because he couldn’t keep up with the carrilla you guys are giving him…lol

  13. White Man says:

    The picas on here amaze me that they can actually “speka de English”

  14. The Crazy Blanco says:

    I’m white and I’m a trash hoarder, Help!

  15. Contractors quote template says:

    What you can’t estimation or perhaps check up on your building contractors estimation is the level of labour they will use to exchange the roof.Building Contractors

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