HOLLISTER — It’s that time of year again. Warm clothes, colorful lights, police checking on contractors.
Every year, San Benito County authorities team up with the State Investigative Fraud Team to survey local contractors and make sure they’re staying on the up and up.
On December 2nd and 3rd, the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office and Hollister Police Department teamed up with the Contractors State License Board and their Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) to conduct a sting operation at a home in Hollister.
At the home, members of SWIFT and Hollister PD posed as home owners needing renovations – interior and exterior painting, landscaping, fencing, plumbing concrete work, etc. Using a list compiled from business cards, newspaper and phone ads, and a few complaints, agents invited different contractors to bid on the various projects.
On the first day, ten contractors showed up to place bids. Most were considerably higher than the state’s legal limit of $500, which factors cost of labor and other materials, and were cited for operating without a contractor’s license and illegal advertising.
On the second day, the sting netted only one contractor from Salinas who was cited for operating without a license and illegal advertising.
“We look forward partnering with the California State Licensing Board to protect our citizens from unscrupulous and unlawful contractors,” Hollister Police Captain Carlos Reynoso said.
All subjects were ordered to appear in court at the San Benito County Courthouse on February 16. The State License Board recommends that anyone looking to hire a contractor for home improvements first check their credentials, which can be done at www.cslb.ca.gov.