Sacramento, Calif. – Many asphalt roads and driveways in northern California are crumbling due to this heavy rain and snow this winter. That’s attracting unlicensed paving and seal coating contractors to sweep in from out of state.
The California Contractors State Licensing Board said the unlicensed workers are set to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners.
According to a press release by the California Contractors State Licensing Board, one example of attempted fraud took place last Friday after an elderly Sacramento woman was approached by a group of contractors from Texas it says is unlicensed.
The woman said the group told her they had seal coating left over from another job and would offer her a “great deal” to pave her driveway.
The CSLB said the woman wrote $16,000 in checks to two of the women in the group, but she later stopped payments after having second thoughts.
Investigators worked with the woman to bring the suspects back to her house to collect a new check.
When 58-year-old Christine Nevils and 50-year-old Sandra Costello arrived at the house, they were arrested. The CSLB said they could possibly face charges of grand theft, burglary, theft by false pretenses, elder abuse and contracting without a license.
In Costello’s handbag, investigators found $46,000 in cash and an estimated $200,000 in jewelry.
Investigators believe the pair, and likely other family members, traveled with equipment from Texas into California, likely victimizing homeowners along the way.
“With heavy rain around the state this winter, it’s especially likely other groups of transient criminals are out there,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “Always be wary when someone shows up uninvited at your front door and says they’ve got a ‘great deal’ with leftover materials.”
CLSP provided the following list of “red flag” for homeowners:
- No CSLB-issued contractor’s license
- Unsolicited offers to do seal coating, paving, roofing, or painting
- Claims of leftover materials
- High pressure sales or scare tactics
- Reluctance to sign a written contract
- Demand for payment in cash or checks written to individuals or their spouses, rather than to the business
- Brand new vehicles, large pickup trucks with a large tank on the bed or pulling a trainer, dump trucks, or other heavy road construction equipment with out-of-state license plates, no plates at all, or obscured license plates
- Toll-free or out-of-state telephone number, instead of a local contact number