Six unlicensed contractors were arrested in an undercover sting operation in Brea, including an ex-con who was a suspect in a Buena Park homicide, authorities said Tuesday.
During the sting on April 17-18, Elbert Kyung Ma was among the unlicensed contractors busted, according to the Contractors State License Board.
Ma, of Buena Park, was convicted in July 2006 of assault with a firearm and was sentenced to four years and six months in prison. He is also a suspect in the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Brian H. Lee May 10, 2011, outside a 24-Hour Fitness gym in Buena Park, authorities said.
Parole officials contend in court filings that Ma failed to show up for meetings with parole officers and fled to the Philippines. He was arrested in the Philippines June 27, 2014, and was extradited back to the United States, according to court records.
Ma remains a suspect in the Lee killing, Buena Park police Sgt. Mike Lovchik said. After Ma was extradited, Orange County prosecutors declined to press charges at the time due to a lack of evidence, Lovchik said.
In announcing the results of the Brea sting operations, state officials warned the public to check up on contractors and insist on hiring only licensed ones.
The sting earlier involved undercover agents posing as residents at a single-family home in downtown Brea. They received bids from $2,500 for electrical rewiring to $17,500 for landscaping and other types of electrical work.
Only licensed contractors can work on projects estimated to cost $500 or more.
Ma applied for a contractor’s license, but it was rejected because of his criminal history, officials said. Ma is appealing the rejection.
“Consumers need to be careful about who they allow into their home,” said David Fogt, a registrar for the state agency. “Some try to work without a license because they know they wouldn’t pass CSLB’s criminal background check.”
Consumers can check a contractor’s status with the state licensing board through its website.
Suspects arrested in the sting on suspicion of contracting without a license and illegal advertising were:
— Eric Jacobsen of Placentia;
— Omar Estrada Ayala of Fullerton;
— Jose Hernandez of Laguna Hills; and
— Salvador Lopez of Santa Ana.
Another man, Viliami Tupou of Los Alamitos, is accused of using a contractor’s license number that does not belong to him, officials said.
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