Nevada contractors arrested in sting
Two Gardnerville residents were arrested in a sting operation for soliciting work in the Angora fire area without a contractors license.
William Tanner, 33, and Troy Meadows, 37, were arrested last week when they put out a bid for debris removal in the Angora Fire area.
Their arrests were part of a sting operation by the California Contractors State License Board to weed out unlicensed contractors in the fire area. Three other unlicensed contractors from California were also arrested in the July 4 operation when California state investigators posed as homeowners whose homes were destroyed by the fire. They asked suspects to bid on debris removal and reconstruction projects.
Rick Lopes, public information officer for the California contractors board, said Tanner and Meadows gave undercover investigators a $4,000 bid for a debris removal project.
“They also told us they would want to bid on a rebuilding project,” Lopes said. “They were working on another roofing project at the time and they left that to give us the bid.”
Art Nadler, public information officer for the Nevada State Contractors Board, said that because the men were arrested in California they would not face charges in Nevada. He said the contractors board has no record of them ever being registered as contractors in the state.
“Anytime you have a disaster, it usually attracts unlicensed contractors,” Nadler said. “They try to take advantage of victims.”
He reminded homeowners to be cautious when looking for a contractor.
“We tell homeowners all the time to slow down, get the five-digit license number and get at least three bids,” Nadler said. “After they get three bids, we recommend they make their choice, get everything in writing and sign a contract.”
In California, operating without a contractor’s license for work costing more than $500 in a disaster zone like the Angora fire area is a felony. Offenders can be charged a fine of up to $10,000 or spend 16 months in state prison.
Unlike California, the Nevada contractors board cannot make arrests, but it does conduct sting operations to uncover contractors operating without a license. If a contractor is found to be operating without a license in Nevada, the contractors board can issue a citation and the issue is taken to court, Nadler said.
The California contractors board will continue its investigation in the Angora Fire area for the next couple of weeks.