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Dozens arrested in statewide unlicensed-contractors sting

March 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities launched a statewide sting targeting dozens of unlicensed contractors, arresting nearly 80 suspects.

If you've ever considered hiring an unlicensed contractor just because he's cheap, think again. Authorities say you could be putting more than your home and finances at risk.

Carol Dalman looks at the shoddy work left by a contractor who replaced about a dozen windows in her Placentia home.

"I lost about $4- or $5,000 and my windows are moldy, they've never been finished," said Dalman.

The contractor she hired was not licensed. Dalman, 66, says she never thought about it at the time since the contractor was recommended by a neighbor. She regrets not checking his background.

"Consumers don't realize the risk they run when they hire someone who doesn't have a contractor's license," said Rick Lopes, spokesman for the Contractors State License Board.

Video provided by the License Board shows investigators posing as homeowners getting bids for a range of services.

During a two-day sting, nearly 80 contractors were arrested in California for operating without a license. Even more alarming, some had serious criminal records.

"Some of these people who were coming out are convicted sex offenders, we had one guy with child trafficking and actually showed up at the sting with a kid," said Lopes.

Officials say homeowners need to check a contractor's license to make sure it's valid if the work they're doing is more than $500; get more than three bids; and don't pay in cash.

Dalman learned the hard way. She's now taking the contractor in her case to small-claims court because of what he left her with in 2011.


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