.

Sting Operation Nets a Dozen Arrests of Unlicensed Contractors, Including 2 from East Palo Alto

The sting took place at a commercial property in Belmont, and was carried out by the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team, who posed as property owners.

Patch file photo by Renee Schiavone.
Patch file photo by Renee Schiavone.
An undercover sting operation resulted in the arrest of 12 illegal contracting suspects in San Mateo County on Thursday, according to a statewide agency that oversees licensed contractors.

The sting took place at a commercial property in Belmont, and was carried out by the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team, who posed as property owners. SWIFT members asked suspects to bid on painting, drywall and flooring projects ranging from $1,000 to $14,000, according to Rick Lopes, a spokesman for the California Contractors State License Board.

In California, all home improvement jobs valued at $500 or more must be conducted by a company or person with a CSLB-issued license, Lopes said. All 12 suspects were cited for contracting without a license, and one, an East Palo Alto man, was also cited by CSLB on an unrelated $5,000 warrant for driving with a suspended license.

In addition, 10 of the 12 suspects were cited on a misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising. Lopes said seven suspects were contacted through ads on craigslist.org, while five were called from business cards and newspaper ads.

The 12 suspects are Dardo Osmar Romano and Dino Joseph Landucci III, both of San Mateo; Edwin Francisco Zavala Valdivia of Sunnyvale; Hugo De Leon-Garcia of Hayward; Rafael Vicente Andrade Villalta, Concepcion Flores and Rossemberg Emmanuelle Hernandez, all of Redwood City; Loni Taaniela Maama and Filino Sokai Masifilo, both of East Palo Alto; Louie Graciano Ortiz of San Jose; Mario Ramirez Reynoso of South San Francisco; and Daniel Aaron Dayton of San Francisco.

The suspects are scheduled to appear in San Mateo Superior Court on July 15 to answer to illegal contracting charges. CSLB officials encourage consumers to verify that a potential contractor is licensed before hiring them.

"Don't rush your spring clean-up, only to ruin your summer fixing someone's bad work. Check the contractor license. Get three bids," CSLB registrar Steve Sands said in a statement.

--Bay City News

Mike May 30, 2014 at 12:07 PM
Let the property owner decide who works on the property not the government. The property owner can decide whether he wants a licensed person or not. The "license" is just another way for tradesmen to keep prices high and reduce competition.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »