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Van Nuys sting operation

CslbstingmontageIt was kind of like NBC’s "To Catch a Predator" this week in Van Nuys.

But instead of suspected pedophiles showing up to meet underage victims, there were alleged unlicensed contractors showing up to bid on remodeling work.

And instead of being tackled by cops in front of TV cameras, they were cited on misdemeanor charges and told that they would be mailed notices to appear in court and could face possible penalties, including jail and a $500 fine.

The undercover operation, according to an article in the L.A. Times, involved an investigator with the Contractors State License Board posing as a homeowner.

The same scenario was repeated in seven cities throughout the state, and by the time the day was over, some 79 allegedly unlicensed contractors had been cited. Last year, more than 700 unlicensed contractors were targeted by the state board in statewide undercover operations, the article said.

One worker was also cited for trying to get $2,400 upfront for a $4,800 job. Under state law, contractors can generally ask only for a deposit of 10% of the project or $1,000, whichever is less.

Here’s what I’m wondering: What about the other jobs the contractors are working on? Will those jobs get shut down? Or does the person just pocket the citation and continue on?

I guess the real question is: If you hire an unlicensed contractor, and he gets caught in a CSLB sting, does your job come to a screeching halt?

Correction: An earlier version of this blog had the headline "Unlicensed contractors busted in Van Nuys sting" and within the text referred to unlicensed contractors. The workers targeted in the Van Nuys sting were suspected of being unlicensed but had not been convicted.

Read the whole article
Check on a contractor’s license

(Photos: AL SEIB / Los Angeles Times)

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