Four men who claimed to be licensed contractors, but were not, were arrested after generating complaints from Camp Fire fire victims in Paradise.
The 2018 Camp Fire remains the deadliest wildfire in California history, and destroyed at least 18,000 structures. As such, the rebuild is still underway more than three years later. But the Butte County District Attorney’s Office says it has been “receiving complaints of unlicensed contractor activity,” and now KPIX picks up a report from KOVR in Sacramento that four unlicensed contractors have been arrested for attempting to pass themselves off as licensed contractors.
According to a press release from the Butte County district attorney, the four suspects “held themselves out to be contractors, but are not licensed through the state.” Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey says in the release, "It is important we do everything we can to protect the hardworking contractors who are trying to do it right."
And these are felony charges. Performing contract work without a license may seem like small potatoes offense, but it is a felony to do unlicensed contracting work in a declared disaster area.
The Butte County DA’s release says that unlicensed contractors "often leave their clients with poor quality work, or in some instances, no work at all. Licensed contractors are required to have a bond to commit to completion of their work. Unlicensed contractors, who do not pay worker’s compensation insurance and other fees, are able to underbid licensed contractors, who are following the law."
And it certainly lends a little more shadiness that one of the suspects was also hit with controlled substance and drug paraphernalia charges. According to KOVR, those charges were for "methamphetamine and fentanyl possession."
You probably do not live in or own property in Butte County, but you may need a contractor from time to time. There is a Contractor State License Board lookup tool that allows you to check whether a contractor is valid, and their current license status.
Image: The White House via Wikimedia Commons