Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Conducts Sting Operation in Manatee County
August 18, 2023
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Last week, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) participated in a coordinated law enforcement operation to combat unlicensed activity alongside the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
“Unlicensed contractors have plagued our state, driving up insurance rates for every policyholder and preying on homeowners in their most vulnerable times,” CFO Jimmy Patronis said. “Floridians must always stay on guard for signs of fraud, especially following storms. Make sure you’re working with a reputable, licensed contractor before signing anything and never feel pressured by a slick sales pitch. Thank you to DBPR and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance on this successful sting operation to crack down on unlicensed activity and hold bad actors accountable.”
“Operations such as these are critical because they allow DBPR to remain proactive by catching unlicensed contractors before they have the opportunity to harm a consumer, damage their home or business, and potentially steal thousands of dollars from hardworking Floridians,” said DBPR Secretary Melanie S. Griffin. “Protecting consumers from unlicensed criminals is one of DBPR’s main priorities.”
“We hope that these sting operations will educate both vulnerable customers and unlicensed contractors that laws are in place for everyone’s benefit,” said Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells. “We want our community to know they are getting quality workmanship and that their Sheriff’s Office continues to guard against potential fraud.”
From August 9-10, 2023, the DBPR Division of Regulation conducted a coordinated sting in Manatee County, targeting unlicensed contractors who were working without the required licenses and insurance. The sting operation, which is typically conducted at a single location where DBPR, in partnership with law enforcement, contacts individuals who have advertised their unlicensed services to come do work at a set location, was performed by DBPR’s Tampa regional field office and resulted in a total of 15 arrests and 28 citations.
DBPR licenses and regulates more than 1.6 million Florida businesses and professionals, from real estate agents and veterinarians to contractors and cosmetologists. DBPR regularly performs enforcement operations or “stings” to proactively seek unlicensed activity in order to protect the public from harm, and “sweeps” of regulated businesses and professionals to ensure they are working within the constraints of their licenses.
If residents suspect they or their neighbors may be a victim of an unlicensed activity scam, report it to DBPR by calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at (866) 532-1440, emailing ULA@MyFloridaLicense.com or filing a complaint at MyFloridaLicense.com.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation licenses and regulates more than 1.6 million businesses and professionals in the State of Florida across more than 30 fields of industry. The Department’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. For more information, visit MyFloridaLicense.com. Follow @FloridaDBPR on Twitter and Facebook, @Florida.DBPR on Instagram and Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on LinkedIn for important information and updates on matters relating to Florida’s business and professional licensing.