15 arrested in Bakersfield unlicensed contractor sting

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Fifteen people were busted this week in an undercover sting for unlicensed contractors.

Investigators posed as homeowners in Bakersfield and called people who advertised as contractors for painting, tree services, landscaping, masonry and concrete work, according to the Contractors State License Board.

Two of the people arrested in the sting had active arrest warrants.

Three people had previously been convicted of unlicensed contracting.

"Homeowners need to watch out for these criminals," CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said in a news release. "Unlicensed, illegal contracting puts homeowners at risk and legitimate contractors at a competitive disadvantage."

Nine of 15 people arrested also asked for an excessive down payment from the undercover investigators. A home-improvement project down payment can't exceed 10 percent of the total cost or $1,000, whichever is less, according to California law.

CSLB said homeowners can check a contractor's license status before hiring at www.cslb.ca.gov.

Unlicensed contractors must clearly state in their ads that they're not licensed, and they aren't allowed to do jobs for more than $500, according to the CSLB.

Those arrested were:

Edwardo Alberto Chavez - Bakersfield
Jose Gonzalez Jr. - Bakersfield
Eloy Martyinez-Maya - Bakersfield
Perry Lamar Green - Bakersfield
Craig Robertson Simpson - Bakersfield
Jason James Carter - Bakersfield
Samuel Joe Mitchell - Bakersfield
Sergio Noriega Rizo - Bakersfield
Gilberto Avalos Madrigal - Bakersfield
Daniel Gomez Navarro - Bakersfield
Amir R. Miranda - Bakersfield
Benjamin Miranda - Arvin
Harry Gabriel Paredes - Bakersfield
Timothy Dwayne Fowler - Oildale
Rodolfo Hernandez Hernandez - Bakersfield