The California Dept. of Insurance announced a bust of contractors in the South Lake Tahoe area after the Angora fire. People are still trying to figure out what to do, but the unlicensed contractors are flocking to the area. Here is the Press Release in its entirety:
SACRAMENTO – Today Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced the results of the first undercover “sting” operation stemming from the Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe. The operation took place at a residence in the disaster area that was damaged by fire, but not destroyed.
On July 4, the California Department of Insurance’s Enforcement Branch partnered with investigators from the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the California Contractors State License Board to identify unlicensed public adjusters as well as unlicensed and uninsured contractors. The operation resulted in five arrests. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the cases.
“Preying on fire survivors is unconscionable,” said Commissioner Poizner. “My department will continue to do everything possible to ensure residents aren’t burned twice by contractors unwilling to protect their employees and customers from unnecessary liability.”
None of those arrested possessed either a city/county business license (a misdemeanor) or a contractor’s license (a misdemeanor enhanced to a felony since it occurred in a disaster area). Furthermore, two arrestees did not have workers’ compensation insurance, a misdemeanor. Suspects arrested were:
• Steve Killion, 47, Marysville, CA, co-owner of Rossier Home Restoration
• Kurt Edward Kimm, 40, Placerville, CA, owner of Kurt Kim Trucking and Equipment
• Troy Meadows, 37, Gardnerville, NV, co-owner of B&T Services
• Chase Rossier, 27, Yuba City, CA, co-owner of Rossier Home Restoration
• William Tanner, 33, Gardnerville, NV, co-owner of B&T Services
In recent days, investigators have also been providing residents of the disaster area with tips on spotting and reporting unlicensed and/or uninsured contractors and public adjusters. Furthermore, the investigators have been sweeping the disaster area to verify the license and insurance status of persons identifying themselves as public adjusters or contractors.
My moral for you: do not do business with anyone, sign any contracts, or enter in to any agreements with a contractor or independent adjuster until you have checked them out with the Department of Insurance or Contractors State License Board.