SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. The Contractors State License Board’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team, in partnership with the Nevada State Contractors BoardPhoto from the South Lake Tahoe Sting, conducted an undercover sting operation in late May to catch unlicensed contractors in South Lake Tahoe.

Six individuals will be referred to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office for charges related to unlicensed contracting. The misdemeanor charges can carry a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a $5,000 criminal fine or up to $15,000 in civil penalties. A second offense results in a mandatory 90-day jail sentence and a fine of 20 percent of the contract price or $5,000 – whichever is greater.

The bids ranged from $1,200 to more than $26,000 for home improvement projects, including interior and exterior painting and bathroom remodeling. All bids exceeded the legal threshold of $500, above which a contractor’s license is required.

The unlicensed contractors caught in this operation may face additional charges for advertising construction services without possessing the necessary license. It is a misdemeanor for any person to advertise for construction or improvement work unless that person holds a valid license in the classification being advertised. Unlicensed individuals’ advertisements for contracting services must explicitly state their lack of licensure and the value of work performed (materials and labor) may not exceed $500.

“Our goals are to protect consumers from fraudulent contractors and to level the playing field for licensed contractors following the law,” said David Fogt, CSLB Registrar. “We continually educate consumers about the importance of hiring licensed contractors and strongly urge homeowners to take a few moments to verify a contractor’s license before proceeding with any construction project in California.”

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