Unlicensed Contractors Busted in Sting

By John Cádiz Klemack and Jason Kandel
|  Friday, Mar 28, 2014  |  Updated 7:52 PM PDT
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Police are busting local contractors for working without licenses. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Gardena for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 28, 2014.

John Cádiz Klemack, Kevin Dahlgren

Police are busting local contractors for working without licenses. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Gardena for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 28, 2014.

More than 120 unlicensed contractors were arrested this week, including nearly a dozen in Los Angeles County, as part of a statewide sting, officials announced on Friday.

Six people were arrested in Rancho Palos Verdes, including a repeat offender with an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court on a previous charge of contracting without a license. those caught in the sting this week had posted ads on Craigslist.

The contractor had bid $48,000 to build a driveway, according to the Contractors State License Board.

Fraud investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids on home improvements in nine areas across the state, starting Tuesday, according to the CSLB.

Of the 121 people arrested, 115 may face misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine up to $5,000, the CSLB reported.

"We're not necessarily trying to put them out of business, we're trying to get them to get with the program, get their license, give consumers that protection," said Rick Lopes, from the Contractors License Board.

Others craftsmen are accused of charging an excessive down payment.

Nineteen crews were issued stop orders, because they had no workers' compensation insurance, the CSLB reported.

Here’s what you need to know before hiring a contractor:

  • Make sure the contractor is licensed.
  • If the job is more than $500, a contractor has to be licensed.
  • Ask friends and neighbors for referrals, but do your homework.
  • Never put down more money than you need to.
  • No matter what you're told, by law, you only have to pay either 10 percent of the job or $1,000, whichever is cheaper.
  • Make sure the contractor has workers comp insurance for their employees: it's required.

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