Sacramento Business Journal - 2:58 PM PDT Friday, July 27, 2007
Six people were arrested Thursday on felony charges of contracting without a license during a sting operation led by El Dorado County law enforcement officers and state officials who were keeping an eye out for phony contractors preying on victims of the recent Angora Fire disaster.
Members of the Contractors State License Board fraud team led a combination sweep and undercover sting operation on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday's sweep through 34 job sites in the fire area found each contractor to be properly licensed.
On Thursday, the fraud team posed as homeowners whose house was destroyed in the fire and invited suspected unlicensed operators to bid on debris removal and various reconstruction projects. Six were arrested for operating without a license. A seventh was charged with a misdemeanor for using an illegal advertisement. Six of the seven were Nevada residents.
The fraud team was joined in the sting by the state Department of Insurance, El Dorado County District Attorney's Office and El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
Contracting for more than $500 worth of work in a state or federally declared disaster area without a valid California contractor's license is a felony. Punishment may include a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three years in state prison, or both.