Breaking News Blog

Wednesday, Mar 20 2013 04:04 PM

Dozens arrested in statewide undercover sting focusing on unlicensed contractors

By BREAKING NEWS BLOG

Nearly 80 people - including several in Bakersfield - face criminal charges after being caught in statewide undercover sting operations conducted this week by the California Contractors State License Board.

Among those arrested in Bakersfield were Benigno Arguelles Martinez, who has a prior conviction for statutory rape, and Juan Manuel Villanueva, who was taken into custody for having false identification and on an arrest warrant for corporal punishment of a minor child and vehicle theft. There were a total of 13 arrests in Bakersfield.

Others arrested in Bakersfield on violations including contracting without a license and illegal advertising were Sinmas Soberanis Acuna, Martin Guadalupe Gill Ortiz, Francisco Carabez Garcia, Daniel Ray Todd, Jerry Allen Henson, Gustavo Martinez, Juan Garcia Torres, Thomas Wayne Brown (whose offenses did not include illegal advertising), Israel Hernandez, Stuart Wayne Forsythe and Armando Alfonso Cobian.

The Contractors State License Board provided the following tips for residents:

* Look for the contractor's state license number and, if there isn't one, the law states unlicensed people can't work on jobs valued at $500 or more.

* Check the license number on CSLB's website at www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com to make sure the license is in good standing and that the contractor has workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees.

* Ask to see a photo ID to verify the person's identity, and contractors are required to have their plastic pocket license or Home Improvement Salesperson registration card with them.

* Get at least three bids, check references and previous work, and a get a detailed written contract.

* Don't pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment. Don't pay in cash and don't let payments get ahead of the work.

- California Contractors State License Board

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