Contractors board organizes El Dorado Hills sting operation

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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EL DORADO HILLS, CA - Unsuspecting would-be contractors walked into sting operation conducted by the Contractors State Licence Board at an El Dorado Hills home last week and now face charges.

According to the CSLB, undercover investigators solicited bids for concrete, roofing, tree trimming and landscaping work.

Ryan Kendall Murray, of Rancho Cordova, was arrested on an outstanding DUI warrant, according to a press release from the CSLB. Murray also was cited by investigators from the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office for having an expired contractor license, and making false workers’ compensation insurance claims.

Many of the suspects were found from advertisements in flyers and cards posted to bulletin boards at local businesses.

 “Homeowners should not assume business cards and advertisements posted at familiar, local businesses will lead them to legally licensed contractors,” said Steve Sands, CSLB registrar. Hiring an unlicensed, and often uninsured, individual to work at your home or business can put you at serious financial risk, especially if a worker is injured on your property.”

Kristy Lynch, of Shingle Springs, said she often hires a handy man to handle repairs around her house that she doesn’t feel she can tackle.

“I get help for the jobs that are too big for me. I usually make sure they are a licensed contractor,” she said. “I figured that the only way I can protect myself from someone doing a shoddy job.”

Property owners considering improvement projects should always consult CSLB’s online “instant license check” to ensure the contractor’s license is in good standing.

By law, all home improvement jobs totaling $500 or more in combined labor and material costs in California must be undertaken by CSLB-licensed contractors, according to the release.

The following individuals were served notices to appear in El Dorado Superior Court on suspicion of contracting without a license:

Jeses Vazquez-Magdaleno, of Placerville; Matthew William Nelson, of El Dorado Hills; Matthew M. Miller, of Cameron Park; Juan F. Navarret, of West Sacramento; David Stagg, of Davis; Jason Bays, of Placerville; Timothy Mitchell Treadway, of Somerset and Darryl Dean Miller, of Somerset.

Michael E. Gioukaris, of Citrus Heights, was cited for being an unregistered home improvement salesperson.

First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines; subsequent convictions bring harsher penalties.

Nine of the ten suspects cited by CSLB face misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license, eight face an additional misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising.

State law requires that contractors include their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise as long as the ad states that they are not a state-licensed contractor, and the combined total of a project’s labor and materials costs is under $500.