Department of Business and Professional Regulation, State Attorney's Office and Monroe County Sheriff's Office Arrest Unlicensed Contractors
September 24, 2009
MARATHON—Today, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the State Attorney, 16th Judicial Circuit, brought unlicensed contractors to justice and taught them an important lesson about state-required licensure. The three agencies conducted a sting operation, which consists of luring suspected unlicensed individuals to a jobsite and catching them in the act of providing estimates for work that requires a license. Two individuals were arrested for unlicensed activity. Daniel Preston Sanders was arrested for unlicensed general contracting, and Szcvepan Nocun was arrested for unlicensed general contracting and unlicensed electrical contracting.
“We thank our partners for working with us to protect the citizens of Marathon from the dangers of unlicensed activity,” stated Secretary Charles W. Drago.
Penalties for unlicensed activity can include a fine of up to $5,000 per incident. Persons engaging in unlicensed activity can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor for a first offense. In addition, any person who acts as an unlicensed contractor during a Governor-declared state of emergency commits a third degree felony.
There are measures consumers can take to protect themselves. Always check licenses by visiting MyFloridaLicense.com. Unlicensed activity should be reported to the department via the Web site or by calling, toll-free, 1-866-532-1440. When hiring a contractor, consumers should:
- Always ask to see the contractor’s license.
- Note the license number and verify that the license is current and in good standing. To check a license, call 850-487-1395 or visit MyFloridaLicense.com.
- Get a Release of Lien covering all workers and materials. This removes your property from the threat of lien.
- Ask any potential contractor for references and check each one.
- Beware of scams when contractors ask for all the money up front or will only accept cash.
- Beware of contractors who arrive in unmarked vehicles, possibly from out-of-state.
- Be cautious of writing checks made payable to individuals, especially when dealing with a company.
- Get everything in writing, including a detailed description of the work to be completed, a completion date and the total cost.
- Request from the contractor a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who have a contract with the contractor to provide services or materials.
- Don’t sign the certificate of completion until you are satisfied with the work done.
- Additionally, licensed contractors are reminded to hire licensed subcontractors when required for work such as plumbing and electrical.
The department’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The department licenses more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit MyFloridaLicense.com.