California Business & Professions Code Section 7027.3 BPC: Fraudulent Use Of A Contractor’s License Number

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimecontractor’s license fraud

The California legislature has taken steps to punish those who hold themselves out to be licensed contractors and fraudulently use a contractor’s license number. Under California Business and Professions Code Section 7027.3 BPC, fraudulent use of a contractor’s license number is a serious crime that can be charged as a felony and may even result in prison sentences being imposed.

To prove that a defendant is guilty under California Business and Professions Code Section 7027.3 BPC, a prosecutor would have to prove the following:

  1. The defendant willfully and intentionally used, with intent to defraud, a contractor’s license number which did not correspond to the number on a currently valid contractor’s license held by the defendant.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Contracting without a License – California Business and Professions Code Section 7028 BPC

  2. Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal – California Penal Code Section 472 PC

  3. Diversion of Construction Loans – California Penal Code Section 484b PC
3. Examples

A man has informally worked in construction for most of his life but is not a licensed contractor. The man wants to bid on a potentially lucrative construction project, but is required to provide a contractor’s license number as part of the registration project. The man’s friend, who is a licensed contractor, allows the man to use his license number in the bidding process. This man could be prosecuted for fraudulent use of a contractor’s license number in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 7027.3 BPC.

In another example, a man is a general contractor who is fully licensed by the Contractors State License Board. For an upcoming project, he hires several subcontractors who he believes are all licensed as well. The man has collected license numbers from each of his subcontractors which he keeps on file. During an audit, it is discovered that one of his subcontractors was using a fraudulent contractor’s license number. The man would not be guilty under California Business and Professions Code Section 7027.3 BPC because he did not willfully or knowingly use a fraudulent number, as is required by the statute.

4. Defenses to Fraudulent Use of a Contractor’s License Number

As discussed above, the defendant would not be criminally liable for using a fraudulent contract’s license number if the defendant’s conduct was not willing or if the defendant did not know that the license number was fraudulent. In addition, the defendant would not be guilty of this offense where there was no intent to defraud.

5. Penalties

Fraudulent use of a contractor’s license number is what is considered a “wobbler” crime. When reviewing the case, a prosecutor can elect to file either felony or misdemeanor level charges against the defendant. When considering what level of charges to file, a prosecutor will review factors such as the defendant’s criminal record and extent of damages suffered by the victim, if any. If charged with a felony, a defendant can potentially be sentenced to serve up to three years in a California state prison facility. If the case is filed as a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty that a defendant may face is up to a year in jail. In either case, the defendant would potentially have to pay restitution to any victim for any and all losses incurred.

6. Criminal Defense for Fraudulent Use of a Contractor’s License Number Cases

If you are being investigated for fraudulent use of a contractor’s license number, or have been charged criminally with this offense, it is critical that you discuss you case with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, during which he prosecuted white collar offenses like this as part of the District Attorney Office’s elite Major Fraud division. Mr. Kraut understands that charges like this can be devastating to one’s professional reputation and works hard to ensure his client’s receive the most comprehensive representation possible. In many cases, Mr. Kraut is able to intervene before charges have been filed in order to have the charges significantly reduced or dropped entirely.

For more information about fraudulent use of a contractor’s license number, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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