PASO ROBLES — An undercover sting in Paso Robles caught 14 suspected illegal contractors, and one of them was allegedly carrying methamphetamine and heroin, according to the Contractors State License Board.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) carried out the operation with help from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and the Paso Robles Police Department.
“Consumers who invite unlicensed workers into their homes take unnecessary financial and personal risks,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “It is one reason we encourage homeowners to make sure the person they hire is licensed.”
The sting took place on June 11-12 in a single-family home south of Highway 46. CSLB investigators posed as homeowners looking for help with home improvement projects. Bids ranged from $660 for painting work to $3,500 to install air-conditioning equipment. That’s above the $500 limit — materials and labor — when a state license becomes necessary.
All 14 suspects caught in the sting could face a misdemeanor criminal charge of contracting without a license, according to CSLB. First-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
One suspect stood out from the illegal contractors making bids because he was carrying an estimated 40 grams of methamphetamine and a small amount of heroin when he arrived at the sting location, according to CSLB. Paso Robles police cited the man with misdemeanors for those violations. He was also given contracting citations for illegal advertising, contracting without a license, excessive down payment, and failing to secure workers’ compensation.
Thirteen suspects also may face a second misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising. Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements and unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license. The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000.
Seven suspects were cited for being in violation for not having workers' compensation insurance. All contractors with employees must have workers' compensation policy, offering protection should a worker be hurt on the job.
Six other suspects may also be charged with asking for an excessive down payment. The legal limit for a down payment is 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.
Consumers can verify a contractor’s license by running an “Instant License Check” on CSLB’s website.
Cited were Abraham Avalos, of Paso Robles, George Andy Enriquez II, of Atascadero, Steven Dugas, of Paso Robles, Shane Anthony Ashley, of Arroyo Grande, Helen Bace, of Arroyo Grande, Eugene Guadalupe Sendejas, of Paso Robles, Ulises Saligan, of Templeton, Roger Sanchez Corona, of Paso Robles, Ian Anthony Wood, of Atascadero, Francisco J. Valdovinos Paramo, of Paso Robles, Edward Wasniowski, of Cambria, Samuel Jeffrey Berry, of Atascadero, Armando Bustamante, of San Miguel, and Cody Matthew Brown, of Paso Robles.
All suspects were ordered to appear on Sept. 10-11, 2019 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, 1050 Monterey St., Room 220, San Luis Obispo.