The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested twelve people on multiple charges during Operation Freelancer VII, an investigation to protect citizens from unlicensed contractors.
Detectives worked with the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to contact individuals advertising home repair services that require a license to complete. As individuals arrived at the predetermined residence, the DBPR database was checked to determine if they were licensed, registered as a contractor, and/or required workers compensation coverage or exemption to perform the work they proposed to do.
In all, the operation resulted in 12 felony charges and 12 misdemeanor charges. Those arrested have a total of 33 prior felony and 33 misdemeanor charges as well as a combined 37 convictions. Two of the defendants, David Pond and Kim Bachert have prior charges for Unlicensed Contracting. Another, Nathan Poor, has charges dating back to 2006 for Domestic Battery, Resisting Arrest and Scheme to Defraud. The following individuals were arrested during the three-day operation:
- Carlos Asiain-Hernandez, DOB 08/19/85, of 4605 Flatbush Avenue,Sarasota
- David Mackey, DOB 06/30/67, of 3016 17th St.,Sarasota
- David Pond, DOB 10/10/73, of 15790 Highbell Place,Bradenton
- Haralambos Maginas, DOB 09/19/87, of 1551 North Tuttle Ave.,Sarasota
- Jarret Dempsey, DOB 01/10/78, of 4410 19th St. Circle W., Unit B,Bradenton
- Kim Bachert, DOB 05/20/51, of 269 Bearded Oaks Drive,Sarasota
- Matthew King, DOB 11/25/62, of 103 North Portia St.,Nokomis
- Nathan Poor, DOB 01/31/69, of 2713 Robinson Avenue,Sarasota
- Nora Nowicki, DOB 10/04/68, of 3144 Courtland St.,Sarasota
- Richard Mitchell, DOB 08/15/54, of 3205 Henrietta Place, Sarasota
- Sergey Kurbatov, DOB 03/20/70, of 7351 Perennial Road, NorthPort
- Steven Leimbach, DOB 02/24/79, of 123 Loquat Lane,Sarasota
Since 2012, the sheriff’s office has assigned detectives to investigate claims against people who engage in contracting work without proper licenses, permits or certification. A first offense usually results in a civil citation by code enforcement but subsequent violations lead to misdemeanor or felony criminal charges. The defendants also receive a cease and desist order from the State of Florida.
“Maintenance operations like these should be a good reminder for consumers to always seek licensed contractors to perform work on their homes or businesses,” said SheriffTom Knight. “Consumers are exposing themselves to financial and physical risk by allowing these people to enter their home, unlicensed, and in some cases, with criminal histories. Let this be a warning to criminals who come into our community and illegally solicit services, that their behavior will not be tolerated.”
“For over five years, DBPR has partnered with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud, and the Sarasota County Building Department to bring down unlicensed contractors in Florida,” said DBPR Secretary Jonathan Zachem. “This continued, strong partnership is integral to DBPR’s mission to protect the public from unlicensed contractors and to uphold the integrity of the construction profession.”
“The (MSBIA) Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association continues to applaud the efforts of Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight in the aggressive pursuit of unlicensed and unpermitted activity in Sarasota County,” said MSBIA CEO Jon Mast. “The actions of the Sheriff’s office helps to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community from unscrupulous handymen impersonating legitimate licensed contractors. By defending unsuspecting homeowners in this way proves the Sheriff is focused on protecting the citizens of Sarasota County from being robbed of their money, shoddy work and peace of mind.”
Florida law sets specific rules and guidelines for obtaining professional licensure, and the people who have met these requirements are held to professional standards. Consumers can verify licenses with the DBPR online at www.myfloridalicense.com, by calling 850-487-1395, or downloading the free DBPR Mobile app through iTunes or the Google Play store.
To check a Sarasota County license, call the Customer Service and Permit Center at 861-6678 or 861-3029. To report someone you suspect is acting as an unlicensed contractor or performing work without a permit, call 861-5000. For more information visit https://www.scgov.net/government/departments/planning-and-development-services/building-division/contractor-licensing