14 accused of contracting work without a license, inflating bids in two California counties

The Contractors State License Board cited 14 people on suspicion of operation without a license in two California counties this month during undercover sting operations, and halted work at four sites when suspects reportedly failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance, according to a news release.

The eight people cited in Yolo County and six people cited in Tulare County face fines and possible jail time after allegedly overcharging residents by thousands, the licensing board said. The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance helped in the sting operation.

Each person is accused of providing bids — which include labor and materials costs — valued at more than $500, which is illegal to do without a contracting license. They are also accused of requesting a down payment that’s more than what the law requires.

Any bid estimates must include the cost of labor and materials. And contractors may only seek a 10% down payment on home improvement projects or $1,000, whichever is less, according to state officials.

The licensing board said each person may also face charges related to unlawfully advertising their businesses.