23 people charged after La Jolla sting operation - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

23 people charged after La Jolla sting operation

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A sting operation conducted in a La Jolla home resulted in 23 people being charged with contracting without a license or related offenses, the Contractors State License Board announced Saturday.

An investigative fraud team from the board posed as homeowners on May 25 and 26 at a La Jolla home. Suspended, unlicensed operators were invited to bid on electrical, tile, painting, landscaping and concrete home improvement projects in an operation assisted by the San Diego Police Department, San Diego County District Attorney's Office and California Department of Insurance.

Contractors who bid more than $500 received notices to appear in court for to faces charges of contracting without a license. State law prohibits home improvement services valued at $500 for labor and materials without a state contractor license.

"This sting operation sends a loud and clear message that violation of state consumer protection laws will not be tolerated by CSLB or its partnering agencies," board Registrar Steve Sands said.

Those caught in this sting included: Rogelio Soto, Jr., of Spring Valley, who pleaded guilty in September 2006 to charges of contracting without a license and was fined $225 and placed on probation for three years.

Lonnie Allen LeBlanc of La Mesa who had his electrical contractor license revoked in September 2005 for failure to comply with citations on various home improvement contract violations, pay for materials or services, charged high down payments and payments exceeding the work value.

Gary Joseph Hincman of Encinitas who had his general building contractor license revoked in July 2004 for failure to comply with a citation for aiding and abetting a non-licensee.

James Ariel Rivera-Siron of San Marcos who allegedly illegally bid on electrical work at the sting. He was taken to jail on an outstanding $27,000 warrant for drug possession and will appear in court to face charges of contracting without a license and illegal advertising.

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