SAN MARCOS - A multiagency sting lead to the arrest of 10 contractors Wednesday who authorities say were working without licenses in the Coronado Hills area of San Marcos, the neighborhood that was devastated by the recent Cocos Fire.
According to a news release from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), investigators caught the unlicensed contractors by posing as homeowners seeking bids for wildfire repairs.
None of them were targeting wildfire victims, and therefore will not face felony charges, CSLB said. However, one of the suspects, identified as David Hargrove of San Diego, could face drug charges after a bag of prescription pills were seized from him during the sting.
The rest face misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license, which comes with a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. They were identified as Miguel Arellano of Vista, Brian Brown of Escondido, Angel Delgado III of Oceanside, Segundo Gervacio of Escondido, Oscar Jimenez of Vista, Michael Johnson of Carlsbad, Marcos Mateo of Escondido, Dandy Richardson of Carlsbad and Christopher Robison of Vista.
In the state of California, contractors working on a job over $500 must be licensed by CSLB.
The sting was jointly conducted by the CSLB Statewide Investigate Fraud Team, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and California Department of Insurance.
The Cocos Fire, one of several in the San Diego Complex last month, broke out on a hillside south of Cal State San Marcos on the afternoon of May 14. It scorched nearly 2,000-acre and destroyed 36 homes and one business. The cause is under investigation.
Anyone with questions regarding a contractor should call CSLB’s toll-free automated line, 800-321-CSLB, or visit cslb.ca.gov.