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Second El Dorado Hills sting this month targets unlicensed contractors

11 people served notices to appear in Superior Court
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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EL DORADO HILLS, CA - Eleven unlicensed “contractors” were cited during a recent undercover sting operation in El Dorado Hills.

The April 20 sting, the second in a month conducted by the Contractors State License Board with assistance from the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigation, netted 11, three with a record of previous citations, according to a release by the CSLB.

Undercover CSLB investigators solicited bids for exterior painting, landscaping, tree removal and fence replacement.

“Advertisements in local publications and business cards do not mean an individual is a legally licensed contractor,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “Unlicensed contractors are rarely insured and put homeowners at serious financial risk if a worker is injured on the property.”

CSLB conducts sting operations throughout the state each week — even on weekends — to protect consumers, help level the playing field for legitimate contractors, and to curb the underground economy, according to officials.

Property owners considering improvement projects should consult CSLB’s online “instant license check” to ensure the contractor’s license is in good standing.

By law, all home improvement jobs totaling $500 or more in combined labor and material costs in California must be undertaken by CSLB-licensed contractors, according to the release.

The following individuals were served notices to appear in El Dorado County Superior Court on suspicion of contracting without a license:

Brandon Michael Blubaugh, of Cameron Park, Thomas Domenic Harris, of Mountain Ranch, Miguel Angel Mota Carrera, of Carmichael, Brent Hylton of Cameron Park, Marty Fredrick Koulax, of Auburn, Macario Ramirez Cortez, of Placerville, Chen Maui Padilla, of Somerset, Byron Rickey Ford, of Rancho Cordova, Alan Wayne Winter, of Sacramento, Richard Alejander Larsen Jr., of Sacramento, and Jonathan Alexander Tyler, also of Sacramento.

First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

The suspects were found through advertisements in local pamphlets, on CraigsList, and from business cards posted to bulletin boards at local businesses.

Helen Michaels, of Cameron Park, said she never uses CraigsList to find competent help.

“I don’t really trust the site and am not sure if I’m getting a qualify person,” she said. “I’ve always gone by personal recommendations for things like yard work or a good contractor.”

In California, all home improvement jobs totaling $500 or more in combined labor and material costs must be undertaken by a CSLB-licensed contractor.

Property owners considering improvement projects always should consult CSLB’s online instant license check to ensure the contractor license is in good standing.