Illegal Contractors Don’t Heed Warning, or Law, in L.A.- Area CSLB Sting

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SACRAMENTO – One illegal contractor’s warning to another that he was walking into a trap didn’t stop him from submitting an excessive bid that resulted in his arrest during a Contractors State License Board (CSLB) undercover sting operation in the southern Los Angeles County area of Rolling Hills Estates on May 7, 2013.

Two repeat offenders – including one cited last month by CSLB – were among those snared. Two individuals were booked by ICE officers, including Israel Herrera Nunez, 38, of Gardena, who walked right into the sting.

When Nunez arrived at the house to give a bid to SWIFT investigators, he encountered Marcus Malouf-Claxton, 19, of La Palma, who was being processed by officers for several contracting violations. Malouf-Claxton tried to warn Nunez away from the scene. But a quick-thinking CSLB investigator posing as a homeowner intervened, telling Nunez that Malouf-Claxton was being booked by officers for an unrelated offense. Nunez, apparently convinced of the story, went on to give investigators a bid for concrete work, was issued a notice to appear (NTA) in Superior Court.

Undercover CSLB investigators sought bids for flooring and concrete work, painting, landscaping, and fencing at the sting property. Suspects in the sting operation were contacted through business cards and ads that appeared in the online bulletin board

“Illegal contractors rob legitimate, tax-paying contractors of their livelihood and put consumers at risk,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “If a contractor isn’t properly licensed and insured, the homeowner could pay more than expected to get the job done right or could be liable for accidental onsite injuries. It only takes a few seconds to check a contractor license on CSLB’s website for peace of mind.”

CSLB conducts sting operations throughout the state each week to protect consumers, help level the playing field for legitimate contractors, and to curb the underground economy.

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