Civil case resolved involving pesticide violations and unfair business practices

SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced that his office, along with 16 other District Attorney’s Offices in California, resolved a civil case involving pesticide violations and unfair business practices against Jeffrey M. Van Diepen and Pestmaster Services LP (formerly known as Pestmaster Services Inc.). 

The stipulated judgment requires the defendants to pay $575,000 in penalties and costs and requires them to contract out training for their employees, give prior notice to county officials of pesticide applications, hire an outside compliance manager, and other requirements to ensure their compliance with the law. 

Van Diepen was required to surrender his California pest control licenses and is barred from ever performing this work in the future.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The complaint in the civil case alleged, and Van Diepen and Pestmaster admitted to the following:

  • Their Proposal to the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 made misleading statements indicating that Pestmaster’s policies and procedures complied with all EPA, OSHA, federal, state, and local regulatory guidance.   
  • Performing pesticide applications for hire without registering with the county Agricultural Commissioner. 
  • Performing pesticide applications without submitting monthly pesticide use reports. 
  • Performing structural pest control work between Nov. 21, 2017, and Jan. 3, 2018, and again between Oct. 15, 2020, and Jan. 27, 2021, without a valid license.    
  • Failing to ensure their employees were trained as required by law and that they used all required personal protective equipment.
  • Van Diepen made recommendations for the use of pesticides without having a Pest Control Advisor license and without registering with the County Agricultural Commissioner. 
  • Allowed unlicensed individuals to contract for structural pest control work or perform structural pest control work without being properly licensed. 
  • Failing to leave at the property the required notice where a pesticide application was made.

Pestmaster is a nationally franchised company headquartered in Reno, Nevada. Pestmaster holds many government contracts for pesticide work in the western United States.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Jorgensen, who is assigned to the District Attorney’s Consumer & Environmental Protection Unit of the Special Prosecutions Division.

Our consumer protection team is focused on protecting the public from unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent or deceptive business practices. Consumer protection cases can be pursued in either criminal or civil court. Examples of such cases include contractor fraud, false or misleading advertising, and “bait and switch” scams. The unit also aims to increase public awareness of consumer issues through presentations to local groups when called upon.

For more information about the consumer protection laws or to report suspected violations contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Assistance Line toll-free at (800)952-5210 or visit their website at dca.ca.gov. Hearing-impaired persons may call TTY (800)326-229.