SWIFT Justice and Lost Renewals

For unlicensed contractors, or anyone who tries to play ‘fast and loose’ with rules that protect workers or consumers justice will prevail. From the SWIFT Investigators seeking to ‘sting’ the unlicensed to local prosecutors protecting their consumers, contractors must beware breaking the law…

According to the Davis Enterprise Newspaper, a Vacaville Contractor was recently sentenced to three years probation after being convicted of Worker’s Compensation Insurance fraud.  This according to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.

Contractors licensed by the CSLB are required to carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance for their employees.  Treating actual employees as “independent contractors” to avoid this requirement can get you into very hot water.  If you have employees, make sure the proper coverage is being claimed and that ALL employees are covered.  Only covering some, but not all, employees can be just as problematic as avoiding coverage altogether.

This case originated from the Yolo County District Attorney’s Information and Resource Sharing Group (DAIRS).  This is a group comprised of representatives from the Department of Industrial Relations, The Contractors Board and local building and code inspectors.

According to a recent News Release from the CSLB, Contractor Boards in CA and NV teamed up on April 27th in a simultaneous sting operation.  This “Boarder Blitz” was the fourth such operation conducted by the Contractors State License Board and Nevada State Contractors Board.  According to the media release, “Five unlicensed contractors were cited at a home in South Lake Tahoe, CA while 12 were snared at a Stateline, NV Condominium, including one contractor who holds a CA license and two who had a suspended CA contractor’s license.”

At each sting location, investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) and NSCB posed as homeowners seeking bids for construction improvements. Using leads developed mostly from Craigslist and local bulletin board ads, investigators developed a list of suspected illegal contractors and asked for bids on exterior painting, paver installation, demolition, and decking.

The CSLB and NSCB are working to level the playing field for contractors who are licensed and carry the proper bonding and Worker’s Compensation coverage.  If you’re playing by the rules, it is downright annoying and costly to be underbid by those who are cutting costs by skirting the law.

Q:  I recently moved my business and in the process, forgot to notify the Contractors Board.  This caused my renewal to be sent back to the CSLB by the Post Office and now my license has expired.  I called the Board and they are sending me another renewal; but in the meantime, I’m out of business.  Anything you can suggest or do to help?

A:  We can speed up getting the renewal to you for signature by picking it up for you in person.  Waiting for the CSLB to send it to you can take up to two weeks.  We can pick it up same day and email it to you.  You can then send the signed renewal along with the required fee to our office and we will hand deliver it back to the Board.  The CSLB is taking about 10 business days to process renewal applications, so unfortunately you are out of business until it is processed.  The renewal form also allows for you to change your address so you can fill two needs with one deed! Let me know if you’d like our assistance.