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Good Samaritans and Con Artists Both Await Fire Victims

Teams of volunteers stand waiting at the reopened neighborhoods offering their tools and their manual labor to returning residents. Redding Electric Utility has restored power to all serviceable homes and the water utilities and sewer systems never stopped working. These were some of the hopeful bits of news from the leaders gathered on stage at the Civic Auditorium, but there were sobering words as well. District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett warned of an influx of fraudsters waiting to prey on a stunned population of survivors holding freshly cut checks from their insurance companies. Fraud will not be tolerated and Bridgett points out that in normal times contracting without a license is a misdemeanor but during times of disaster recovery her office is able to prosecute such cases as felonies. Any job that costs over $500 needs a licensed contractor and any down payment on a job cannot exceed 10% or $1000, whichever is less. A fraud hotline is set up at 225-5391. The Insurance Commissioner hotline is 1-800-927-4357.