Madera County Sheriff John Anderson announced May 9 that three Madera County Sheriff's Office deputies have received state commendations for their role in an unlicensed contractor's sting carried out in Coarsegold.
Seventeen unlicensed contractors, including a registered sex offender, were caught during a two-day sting in which Deputies Roy Broomfield, Gerald Marin and Sergeant Larry Rich took part.
The Statewide Investigative Fraud Team with Contractors State License Board set up stings last month at two locations off Highway 41 in Coarsegold.
Michael Scaggs of Squaw Valley, Charles Edward Goodman of Coarsegold, David Roman Alvarez, Sr. of Fresno, Cirilo Renteria Rodriguez of Fresno, Jack Jay Goedhart of Coarsegold, Mark Edward Jordana of Coarsegold, William Lee Smith of Madera, Anton James Blaine of Oakhurst, James Robert Mitchell of Oakhurst, Paul R. Schickel of Fresno, Jesse Michael Rivera of Fresno, Raymond Hernandez Luna of Clovis, Lance Gilman of Oakhurst, Cruz Antonio Banuelos, Jr. of Fresno, Justin Wesley Baker of Coarsegold, Jason Moses Morgan Tipton of Coarsegold were caught and cited for a variety of charges, which included contracting without a license, illegal advertising and excessive down payment.
The last individual to be captured was 41-year-old Bryan Patrick Higgins, a registered sex offender who resides in Coarsegold. According to state reports, Higgins showed up at a home during the sting operation to bid on tree services. He, like the rest, was given a Notice to Appear in court for contracting without a license, illegal advertising and asking for an excessive down payment. He was also caught for driving without a license.
Authorities say the suspects were found through flyers, business cards and phone number 'tear-offs' posted on bulletin boards at local businesses.
All 17 suspects are scheduled to make court appearances in Madera County Superior Court next month.
Anderson says residents should always ask for a contractor's license and photo ID, and then verify that information at CheckTheLicenseFirst.com, before hiring anyone to do any kind of work on your property.