From the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office:
Martinez, Calif. – On February 8th, 2023, a jury in Contra Costa County found 42-year-old Adan Contreras Rivas of Modesto guilty of multiple felonies and misdemeanors related to unlicensed contracting, fraud, theft, and failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed an initial complaint against Rivas in March 2022 following an investigation into his actions that led to his eventual arrest. After his release on his own recognizance, Rivas was arrested again in November 2022 for posing as a licensed contractor in the landscaping and construction industry and stealing thousands of dollars from unsuspecting consumers. Prior to his offenses in Contra Costa County, Rivas had served time in the state prison for several related felony and misdemeanor convictions for grand theft, theft from an elder, and contracting without a license in Santa Clara County.
Deputy District Attorney Natasha Mehta, who prosecuted the case for the People, said: “The defendant defrauded numerous victims out of thousands of dollars. Justice was achieved for those harmed by Rivas in this case, and the jury’s conviction will help to protect consumers in the future.”
Rivas will be sentenced on March 8, 2022, in Martinez, and faces up to 9 years and 8 months in prison.
Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton notes, “My office is protecting consumers in the county by partnering with multiple government agencies like the Contractors State License Board and the California Department of Insurance. This partnership has been effective in conducting undercover sting operations, as well as, investigating unlicensed contractors who fail to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.”
Unlicensed contractors pose a threat to consumers by failing to acquire skills and licensure when hired to perform home improvement or construction projects. Some unlicensed contractors illegally require excessive down payments for construction or landscaping projects, and frequently fail to begin or complete projects once they receive money. Consumers are often unaware unlicensed contractors have not completed background checks and usually do not carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees – which increases liability risks to consumers.
California law requires contractors to be licensed in their chosen specialty and to obtain the appropriate insurances, including workers’ compensation insurance. Moreover, contractors are legally required to conduct their business in specific ways, which includes restrictions on down payment amounts.
For more information on how to verify a contractor’s license, go to cslb.ca.gov.