SAN BERNARDINO — Additional undercover operations targeting unlicensed contractors may be in store, says a state licensing official who recently announced citations for a dozen people who were seeking business in San Bernardino-area mountain communities.
A sting involving three law enforcement agencies targeting unlicensed contractors was conducted earlier this month, and netted 12 violators of the state licensing board, which operates under the umbrella of the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
During the undercover operation, officials said that suspects that bid more than $500 for labor and materials received notices to appear in court. Under state law, jobs for more than $500 must be performed by licensed contractors.
Agents of the state licensing board, California Department of Insurance and San Bernardino County sheriff’s department took part in the sting. Posing as homeowners, undercover investigators sought bids for painting, concrete and roofing work at a home in Blue Jay, according to officials.
One of the reasons for the operation, said Steve Sands of the state license board, “is many consumers don’t realize that if something goes wrong, or mistakes are made, they can be liable for injuries to workers or damage to property.”
The board urges those who seek work on their homes or businesses to look for a state-required license that is to be displayed in a prominent location.
“You may be gambling with your family’s safety and finances if the project goes wrong,” Sands said Thursday.
Arrested were mountain residents Brad Jonathan Palenchar, 31, of Running Springs, Daniel Acosta-Carrillo, 30, of Big Bear Lake, Juan Martinez Huerta, 28, of Big Bear, Olav Alexander Flores, 37, Miguel Gonzalez Campa, 51, both of Cedar Glen, Greg Alvin Lane, 52, of Crestline, along with Lake Arrowhead’s Matthew Allen Wegner, 51, Adolfo Garcia-Ornelas, 54, and Christopher Lee Henning, 38.
Cited to appear on Dec. 14 for arraignment in San Bernardino Superior Court were Mark Anthony Hasenbener, 40, of Riverside, and Fernando Anival Ayala, 26,of Rialto.
Julio Manciula Vasques, 48, of Lamont was the other person cited by officials.
Licensing board officials suggest that potential consumers can verify a contractor’s license by checking online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling the board’s automated phone system (800-321-2752).
Sands said future undercover operations are underway in various locations around California.