Sacto 9-1-1
August 10, 2010
Placer DA warns of contracting scams in wake of sentencing

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The Placer County District Attorney's office is warning the public to watch out for scam artists when hiring for work around the house.

The California State Licensing Board cautions citizens to only hire state-licensed contractors on projects of $500 or more.

Also, check the license online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling (800) 321-2752.

Other CSLB recommendations: get three bids, get references of contractors, review past work of contractors, get project expectations in writing and only sign a contract if understood.

Citizens should also confirm that the contractor has workers' compensation insurance.

Don't pay in cash and don't pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less. Don't make the final payment until satisfied with the job.

clip_image002.jpgplacer.jpgThe hints on hiring comes in the wake of an 87-year-old Auburn woman who was bilked out of $13,500 for a tree removal job on her property.

The contractor, Leron Anthony Stephenson (photo left), 30, of Roseville, cashed six checks, including four blank checks given by the victim, according to a news release from the DA's Office.

Stephenson pleaded guilty in April to theft charges and contracting without a license, the release states. He was given a one-year jail sentence, placed on five years probation and given a suspended prison sentence of five years and four months.

He must pay the back the $13,500 to the family of his victim, the release states.

The elderly woman died before Stephenson changed his plea to guilty in April, according to the release.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

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