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Lincoln man arrested in multi-county fraud case

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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Lincoln Police arrested a 36-year-old Lincoln man Friday accused of defrauding homeowners in Auburn and throughout five counties of more than a quarter of a million dollars. Jonathan Aaron Teague was arrested on a felony traffic stop in Lincoln for multiple felony and misdemeanor charges including illegal weapons possession, illegal use of someone else's contractor's license and contracting without a license. He was booked into the Placer County Jail in Auburn for Illegal weapons possession, 26 felony charges of illegal license use and 26 misdemeanor charges for contracting without a license. His bail was set at $110,000. Teague has been under investigation by California's Contractors State License Board and the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team for wrongfully using the legitimate license numbers of two different companies. The contractors board alleges Teague has been contracting for home-improvement projects in Placer, El Dorado, Yuba, Sacramento and Napa counties and has taken about $300,000 from property owners in the past year. Pamela Mares, license board spokeswoman, said three victims are from Auburn and two are from Rocklin. Mares said victims have also been reported in Fair Oaks, Roseville and Placerville. According to investigators, Teague took payments from homeowners, would do substandard work or no work at all, and then disappear. Investigators believe he was still soliciting work and taking money up to Thursday. Home-improvement contracts, drug pipes, four throwing knives and two other knives were reportedly found in his possession during the arrest. "Consumers must do their homework before hiring any contractor," Steve Sands, registrar for the Contractors State License Board said in a statement to the press. "Don't assume that if they give you a license number that it is their license." Sands said consumers should ask to see the contractor's plastic pocket license and photo identification, then go online or call the license board's automated phone system to verify the license information. Consumers can also check out the contractor's license history and get bond and personnel information. "Many unlicensed contractors have other problems with the law and are a real danger to a consumer's property and family." Sands said. Investigators believe there may be additional victims in Northern California. Anyone who has information about Teague or who would like to file a complaint, can contact the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team at (916) 255-2924, or by fax at (916) 369-7265. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or comment online at auburnjournal.com.
Dealing with contractors
Contractors State License Board recommendations for dealing with any contractor:
l Don't rush into decisions and don't hire the first contractor who comes along.
l Be especially hesitant when approached by someone offering home improvement services door-to-door, especially when they use material they claim is left over from another job.
l Verify the contractor's license by checking online at www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling the license board's automated phone service at (800) 321-2752.
l Get three bids, a written contract and check references.
l Never pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment.
l Don't pay cash and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Anyone who has information about Jonathan Teague or who would like to file a complaint, can contact the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team at (916) 255-2924, or by fax at (916) 369-7265.