Handful of phony contractors busted in Hanford

August 13, 2013 11:02:31 PM PDT
A big bust nabbed a handful of phony contractors. Investigators posed as homeowners looking for home improvement projects.

In the video, you'll see pictures from the undercover operation in Hanford that nabbed eight unlicensed contractors, suspected of duping consumers out of illegal down payments.

One of the suspects, Julio Ramirez said, "I never asked for money in advance. That's a total lie, and what they do, they're lying."

Ramirez is a licensed handy man in the city of Hanford -- meaning he's not allowed to bid on a project worth more than $500.00. But he was busted for bidding more than that amount. Asking for an excessive down payment, and not having workers compensation. He feels he was setup.

"They call you, and then they ask you if you have a license, and they still keep calling you until you finally call and fall into the game," explained Ramirez.

But Kings County officials who helped conduct the sting with the contracting state licensing board don't see it that way.

Karl Anderson with the Kings County District Attorney's Office said, "We want to make sure that people that are out doing work on homes are licensed and they're doing it properly because there's a lot of fraud going on with the rebound in the real estate market."

And for your own protection, the contractors state licensing board advises consumers to always higher someone with a license, get at least three different bids, and never pay in cash.

Melanie Bedwell explained, "Make sure you have a written contract, it's not just something that's an oral agreement, I'm sorry to say, the days of a discussion and a handshake don't work well anymore."

To check to see if you're hiring a licensed contractor, go to the state's consumer affiars website. Officials say it's better to play it safe than be sorry.

Anderson added, "You'll find people wanting to make a shortcut because they can save $500 bucks to $1,000.00, but in the long run, they can be out thousands because they didn't do it right."


Load Comments