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UNLICENSED ACTIVITY IN THE NEWS

 

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June 2017

 

Unlicensed contractor sting nets six in Columbia County

06/23/2017 - http://www.firstcoastnews.com/

On Thursday, June 22, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested six subjects during an undercover sting targeting unlicensed contractors.

CCSO worked jointly with personnel from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR) during the one day sting to highlight the need for the public to use due care when hiring contractors.

“Informed consumers are our greatest weapon against unlicensed contractors,” said Interim Secretary Matilde Miller of the FDBPR. “We hope this story inspires Florida consumers to educate themselves on the risk they assume when hiring an unlicensed professional.”

 

Unlicensed contractors busted in undercover sting in Flagler, Volusia counties, investigators say

06/16/2017 - http://www.wftv.com/

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Twelve people were arrested in Volusia and Flagler counties recently after an undercover sting aimed at rooting out unlicensed contractors preying on residents, officials said.

Law enforcement in Flagler County got involved in the issue after Sheriff Rick Staly received a suspicious phone call to his home from a “shady” contractor, a joint statement from the Volusia County and Flagler County sheriff’s offices. Volusia County joined efforts to get unlicensed contractors off the streets after Sheriff Mike Chitwood heard from numerous citizens about the individuals.

 

Five arrested in Flagler County after undercover operation to catch unlicensed contractors

06/16/2017 - http://www.palmcoastobserver.com/

Shortly after Rick Staly was sworn in as Flagler County sheriff, his wife received a call at their home from a company asking if they needed any roof repairs from Hurricane Matthew damages. When the sheriff’s wife asked if the company was licensed and insured, the phone disconnected.

Staly then directed the Investigative Services Division to conduct Operation Wrong Number to identify and arrest people contracting without a license.

 

Unlicensed contractors? Not on my watch, Flagler County sheriff says

06/16/2017 - http://www.news4jax.com/

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - When Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly’s wife answered a phone call shortly after Hurricane Matthew, and the voice on the line asked if the couple needed any roof repairs, she asked if the company were licensed and insured.

The caller didn’t answer the question and the phone line disconnected. This happened soon after Sheriff Staly was sworn in, and he took swift action, directing the Investigative Services Division to conduct an operation to identify and arrest people contracting without a license, the Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

 

May 2017

 

Sting targets unlicensed, uninsured contractors in Zephyrhills

05/25/2017 - http://www.tampabay.com/

ZEPHYRHILLS — A two-day undercover sting targeting unlicensed and uninsured contractors by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office led to three arrests and one pending arrest.

The operation took place May 10 and 11, with detectives posing as homeowners at a single-family residence in Zephyrhills, the Sheriff's Office said.
Before the operation, detectives scheduled appointments with 16 contractors through sites such as Facebook, Craigslist, Angie's List, Thumbtack and Home Advisor, all of them unlicensed, a Sheriff's Office news release said. All 16 advertised themselves as "handymen" who could complete remodeling services or perform other services requiring a contractor's license and workers' compensation insurance coverage.

 

Unlicensed contractor scams dozens, gets arrested

05/19/2017 - http://www.fox4now.com/

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A Cape Coral contractor is behind bars after he was accused of scamming several homeowners and subcontractors.

Shane Lack, 44, was arrested on grand theft charges, after allegedly scamming several people on contracting jobs. Fox 4 reached out to some of his clients, who said he did not complete their work, or they paid a large deposit and never heard from him again.

 

March 2017

 

Jacksonville man charged with unlicensed contracting, fraud, grand theft

03/29/2017 - http://www.news4jax.com/

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- A Jacksonville man is accused of entering into construction contracts with customers and taking their money without doing jobs he agreed to do, or refunding them.

Darren Lee was arrested Monday on one count of organized fraud, four counts of grand theft and four counts of unlicensed contracting, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Police said complaints about Lee, 50, started pouring in between September and November.

 

 

Action 9 investigates unlicensed contractor blamed for creating fire hazard

03/27/2017 http://www.wftv.com/

ORLANDO,Fla.- An Orlando woman claims a contractor hired to repair an electrical problem instead created a fire hazard.

The contractor fixed a controversial power panel that most experts say has to be replaced. Action 9's Todd Ulrich could not find a state contractor's license and said these kinds of contractors can be very risky.

Sharron King needed an electrician, and hired T & T Electrical from Craigslist. But after owner Tim Martin finished repairs, King said her

house could have burned down.

 

 

BBB: Don't let your guard down at home shows

03/03/2017 http://www.news4jax.com/

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- There's a consumer alert for people heading to the Jacksonville Home and Patio Show this weekend.

Though local home shows are a great opportunity to shop and gather ideas for home improvement, it is important to attend the show with a plan in mind, the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida advised.

“Your home is likely your most valuable asset, so educating yourself about the process of hiring a contractor is an important step before you begin any home improvement project,” says Tom Stephens, president of BBB serving Northeast Florida and the Southeast Atlantic. “After last year's home show, we saw a situation where an unlicensed contractor devastated numerous families. BBB wants to make sure you hire someone you can trust.”

 

 

February 2017

 

How to find certified home inspectors and contractors

02/27/2017 https://www.washingtonpost.com

We recently had a question from a homeowner in Florida who had trouble finding an inspector or contractor who could help her figure out whether there had been any structural damage to a balcony that had been hit by a falling tree.

We want to address the issue of why home inspectors or perhaps contractors have balked at giving this homeowner some help.

As soon as the homeowner asked whether the contractors were licensed, insured and certified, they “disappeared.”

 

Cracking Down on Unlicensed Contractors

02/21/2017 http://www.nbcmiami.com/

If you’re hiring someone to do work on your home, do you take the time to check if they are licensed? Miami-Dade County says you should, especially since they say unlicensed contractors are a big problem in our area.

The problem is so prevalent that a few times a year, they join forces with Miami-Dade Police, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and other agencies to do unlicensed contractor stings.

NBC 6 Responds positioned several hidden cameras inside a vacant home, to capture what police described as a steady stream of unlicensed contractors. Two undercover police officers posed as homeowners looking to remodel the house.

 

City provides new options to report unlicensed contractors

02/15/2017 http://www.lehighacrescitizen.com/

Cape Coral's Code Compliance Division is providing direct links to report unlicensed contractors and unpermitted construction work. The city department has established a dedicated phone number and email address that citizens can use to alert the city to suspected illegal contracting and construction activity. The phone number is 239-242-3783, and the email is unlicensed@capecoral.net.
"Work performed by unlicensed contractors does not have proper permits and is not inspected to ensure compliance with state building codes, which can affect the safety and welfare of the homeowner," said Code Manager Richard Carr. "Unfortunately, the homeowner is the one who is liable for the additional costs associated with bringing shoddy, unpermitted work up to code."
The city also works with the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association to provide information about the importance of hiring licensed contractors, and checking their references and credentials.

 

January 2017

 

Man posing as real estate agent arrested

01/23/2017 http://www.fox13news.com

Clearwater - Plenty of people use websites like Craigslist to buy or sell homes, but authorities warn not everyone out there is who they say they are.

On Friday, police in Michigan arrested Kervin Moreno, a man accused of posing as a real estate agent and broker in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

 

Officials warn of possible storm damage cleanup scams

01/24/2017 http://www.bradenton.com/

Now that the winds have died down and the rain has passed, officials don’t want residents to become prey for scammers who may claim to clean up the mess last weekend’s storms left behind.

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office released a statement Tuesday warning Florida residents of possible scams. After the damaging storms, individuals may try to prey on the affected, according to the release.

 

Six arrested for contracting without a license

01/30/2017 http://www.wjhg.com/

WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE (Press Release) -A three-day operation leads to the arrest of six individuals for contracting without a license.

Walton County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation conducted a joint operation focusing on unlicensed contractors Wednesday through Friday last week. This operation began with a DBPR employee making contact with various suspects who were advertising services online. Appointments were set up with the suspects who would give estimates for their work in exchange for money.

Suspects would meet with undercover investigators at an arranged location and conduct an estimate. Once it was determined the suspect was operating as a licensed contractor without a valid contracting license they were stopped by units of the Walton County Sheriff's Office and issued a notice to appear. Each individual was also issued a cease and desist order from DBPR. This operation resulted in six subjects being issued NTAs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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