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December 2015


DBPR sting turns up 11 unlicensed workers

12/24/15 http://www.gainesville.com/

Following a state Department of Business and Professional Regulation sting targeting unlicensed electrical and construction workers in Alachua County, the agency earlier this week released a list of unlicensed workers to avoid.


DBPR issues consumer advisory warning of unlicensed individuals (12.22.15)

12/22/15 www.myfloridalicense.com

High Springs, Fla. – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today issued a consumer advisory after the Division of Regulation successfully conducted a sting operation targeting unlicensed individuals in the Alachua County area.


November 2015


State regulatory agency conducts construction sting in Okaloosa County (11.20.15)

11/20/15 www.myfloridalicense.com

SHALIMAR, Fla. – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) partnered with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Okaloosa County Code Enforcement, Florida Department of Insurance Fraud, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Workers Compensation to conduct a joint sting operation November 18-19 targeting unlicensed contractors in the Shalimar area.


Sting operation nabs unlicensed contractors

11/20/15 www.nwfdailynews.com

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office conducted a sting operation this week that resulted in the arrest of 11 unlicensed contractors for performing services without a state-issued license.


September 2015


Unlicensed contractor arrested after investigation

09/09/15 www.local10.com

During a Miami-Dade police economic crimes bureau undercover operation, 12 individuals were netted for performing unlicensed contracting services that require a state-issued license.


August 2015


Scam-proofing your home after a storm

8/20/2015 www.local10.com

After a big storm, some unscrupulous roofers will talk homeowners into a new roof after they manufacture damage. Consumers should remember the red flags to look for if a contractor claims your roof has damage.


08/17/2015 www.news4jax.com

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued a warning Monday about unlicensed contractors in the Lake City area and conducted a sting operation for the contractors, who were issued cease-and-desist orders after they offered to perform electrical and construction services that require a state-issued professional license.


Gov. Scott declares state of emergency for five North, Central Florida areas

08/06/15 www.news.wfsu.org

Following the heavy rainfall over the weekend, Emergency management officials were forced to issue a mandatory evacuation order due to the major flooding in the Tampa Bay area. Governor Rick Scott even recently visited the area.


Be wary of scams following floods, Florida officials warn

08/04/15 www.palmbeachpost.com

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is warning Floridians to be wary of contractors working without a license in the wake of natural disasters, such as Tampa's recent flooding.


July 2015


Ask Mr. Handyman: Licensed and insured claims need to be verified

07/30/15 www.jacksonville.com

Articles in newspapers such as this one, morning TV shows and other sources urge homeowners to make certain that home service providers are "licensed and insured." Given this common knowledge, advertising, vehicles and business cards often represent that a company is both "Licensed & Insured." I'd like to help you understand why this is important, and how folks try to skirt the intent of this recommendation.


6 things to know about air-condition repair

07/23/15 www.clickorlando.com

With Florida's hot summers, home air-conditioning units are getting a work out, but when it's time for a repair, be careful who you call.


June 2015


Sting catches unlicensed contractors in Jacksonville

06/29/15 www.news4jax.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Finding a good contractor to work on a home that needs repairs can be quite challenging, especially when there are some unlicensed contractors willing to take advantage of homeowners. In an effort to cut down on the number of unlicensed contractors trying to work in the Jacksonville area, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, along with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Financial Services, performed an undercover sting operation to nab some of these contractors.


Dangers of Hiring an Unlicensed Professional

06/29/15 www.jcfloridian.com

Most professions in Florida are regulated by a state, county and/or city license. Unlicensed professionals typically lack the proper qualifications required of a license and will bid a price much lower than that of a licensed professional just to get the job. Don't be fooled by an estimate that seems too good to be true!


Police crack down, warn homeowners to beware of unlicensed contractors

06/17/15 www.tampabay.com

ST. PETERSBURG - The air-conditioning system wasn't working, but it wasn't exactly broken either. Police had removed the AAA batteries from the thermostat, rendering it temporarily useless. The empty house heated up as undercover investigators waited for contractor after contractor - all solicited on Craigslist - to bid on different projects. There were plumbers and electricians, kitchen renovators and, of course, a refrigeration specialist.


Spike in unlicensed contracting complaints leads to undercover sting operation in St. Pete

06/17/15 www.abcactionnews.com

Gregory Dearinger told me he doesn't know why the cops arrested him. But St. Petersburg detectives say they have undercover video of Dearinger, who doesn't have a contractor's license, bidding on plumbing and electrical work. The arrests made over the past two days began with a sting operation in May.


BBB: Beware of storm-chasing contractors

06/17/15 www.news4jax.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Better Business Bureau warns that the aftermath of a hurricane can bring out contractors who take advantage of those who have already been victimized by the storm. It is not uncommon for out-of-town storm chasers to solicit business after a major weather event, the BBB says.


State, BBB, urge consumers to check business licenses before hiring

06/16/15 www.palmbeachpost.com

Is the building contractor you're hiring licensed? Along with a couple of dozen other categories and occupations, such as those who sell alcoholic beverages, yachts and real estate, building contractors must have a state license. As part of Unlicensed Activity Awareness Week June 15-19, the Better Business Bureau and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation are reminding Floridians to thoroughly research professionals and business prior to hiring and to report suspected unlicensed individuals.


JSO: Contractor sought in crooked roofing scheme

06/09/15 www.firstcoastnews.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police are looking for a Jacksonville roofing contractor accused of duping elderly victims out of cash and never performing the repair work he promised, authorities said Tuesday. Goran Popovic, 44, is accused of targeting several people with the same scheme: taking money from unsuspecting victims in exchange for roof repairs, but never actually completing the work. Popovic is wanted for schemes to defraud, a felony, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.


May 2015


Contractors using another company's license to get business

05/13/15 www.local10.com

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - Marsha Seidman called Local 10 News investigative reporter Christina Vazquez after she felt she was swindled by two contractors who installed windows in her Century Village home. The men from Bruna Enclosures, who identified themselves as Chuck and Larry, told Seidman she would not need a permit for the windows in her screen enclosure, but it turns out she did.


April 2015


Action News Investigates: State Attorney investigates St. Johns modular home company

04/24/15 www.fox30jax.com

St. Johns County, Fla. - A couple put their trust in a local home builder, but was left having to dip into their retirement to stay afloat. Now, the president of a St. Augustine modular home company may soon face criminal charges. Randy Heath, 62, said he wants what he paid for, a home where he could live with his wife, sons and in-laws.


Tattoo removal gone awry lands man in jail

04/16/15 www.tallahassee.com

Linda Long wanted to have a tattoo of a rose removed from her ankle. But things didn't go as planned. After undergoing the Rejuvi Eraze process by an employee at Kim's Skin Care Studio of Tallahassee, the site of the procedure, her small tattoo became infected and was not removed. Long's story, which she blogged about, is one of a half dozen connected to the arrest of 40-year-old David B. Coppedge Tuesday by Leon County Sheriff's Office on five counts of practicing medicine without a license.


Monkey C-Section Abortions Performed by Non-Veterinarians

04/08/15 theirturn.net

Primate Products, a monkey breeding company at the center of the MonkeyGate scandal in Hendry County, Florida, assigned invasive surgeries to vet techs instead of veterinarians - in violation of state law. David Roebuck, a former employee at the Florida company, told Their Turn that vet techs performed C-section abortions on pregnant monkeys so that they company could sell the fetal organs and the mother's milk.


March 2015


Ways to avoid roof-repair scams

03/30/15 www.news4jax.com

Even if you do everything right, a storm or accident could require you to hire a professional. Find three local companies with solid reputations and ask for detailed quotes. Make sure you study each one carefully so you understand the scope of all three bids. Hicks warns homeowners to steer clear of anyone going door-to-door in your neighborhood after a storm. They often do shoddy work and aren't around for any follow-up issues.


Jacksonville woman scammed out of thousands of dollars

03/11/15 www.news4jax.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Grove Park woman said she was scammed by a contractor who took her money and never came back. Donna Zamalloa hired alleged contractor Jeff Markant to do some improvements on her kitchen. She said she paid Markant $12,000 for the renovations, but her kitchen was left in disarray. "I started feeling a little weird because more money was needed, and I didn't want to make any qualms about it and I didn't want to start yelling at him until everything was finished," said Zamalloa.


Lithia homeowner paid in full, left waiting for company to finish backyard

03/11/15 www.wfla.com

After 25 years in the army, Marc Debearn and his wife bought a home in Lithia. They hired a local company, New Age Hardscapes, Inc., to create a gorgeous backyard and outdoor kitchen. But now the Debearns are in a bind. New Age Hardscapes, Inc., hasn't showed up in weeks to finish the job. Company owner Joshua Brown claims he hasn't had the money to finish this work.


February 2015


Unlicensed contractors not welcome in Pasco County

02/25/15 lakerlutznews.com

Pasco County is cracking down on unlicensed contractors who leave residents on the hook for shoddy work, or who take the money and run without doing the job. County officials and the Pasco Sheriff's Office joined forces in October to launch a pilot program aimed at protecting consumers from unscrupulous contractors. Licensed contractors also lobbied for tougher actions against competitors who don't follow the rules, county officials said.


Unlicensed contractors under fire in Central Florida

02/24/15 www.clickorlando.com

ORLANDO -- When Brittany and Dan Brown of Seminole County took bids for a home addition project in the fall of 2013 they were convinced that they had the right contractor for the job. The job was never completed, however. Ben David McCoy of McCoy Construction Projects Inc. told the couple that he was licensed and experienced and would complete the 240-square-foot addition in six weeks, the Browns said. He presented a state license number, and they handed him $15,000 for materials and construction. Last year the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), issued a cease and desist notice to McCoy for operating without a state license.


Manatee County Commission votes to ban unlicensed contracting

02/24/15 www.bradenton.com

MANATEE -- Unlicensed contracting is now officially prohibited in Manatee County, making the county consistent with state law. Manatee County Commission unanimously approved the new ordinance in a public hearing at its Tuesday meeting.


DBPR issues consumer advisory warning of unlicensed contractors in Pensacola


PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today issued a consumer advisory after the Division of Regulation successfully conducted a sting operation targeting unlicensed contractors in the Pensacola area. The unlicensed individuals were issued Notices to Cease and Desist for offering to perform electrical and construction services that require a state-issued professional license.


Broward County man arrested for targeting South Florida seniors with contractor scam

02/16/15 www.nbcmiami.com

A Broward County man who swindled senior citizens out of money by posing as a contractor is under arrest, officials say. This is the second arrest for Niraj Sethi in less than a month on similar charges, according to the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud. Sethi was first arrested as a part of an undercover sting in Tamarac in January. At that time, Sethi was found to be contracting work without a license and operating without workers' compensation insurance.


11 arrested in undercover sting targeting unlicensed contractors in Manatee

02/14/15 www.bradenton.com

MANATEE, Fla. - An undercover sting operation targeting unlicensed contractors and contractors without workers' compensation insurance in Manatee County resulted in 11 arrests, the Florida Department of Financial Services said Friday. The three-day operation was a multi-agency effort that included the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Holmes Police Department and manatee County Code Enforcement.


Builder accused of scamming a couple out of $80,000 confronted

02/13/15 www.actionnewsjax.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A builder accused of scamming $80,000 from a couple was tracked down by Action News. Jack and Donna Cheek handed over $80,000 to have  their retirement home built. The Cheeks said that last May they wrote the check to Marvin Lenhart of Lenhart Log Cabins Inc. and their home was supposed to be built in August 2014. However, a lawsuit filed by the couple says Lenhart left town, cashing the check in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


Tracking down Tampa Bay's shady contractors

02/05/15 www.wfla.com

TAMPA, Fla. - Jane and Dennis Thomas say contractor Michael Baker made a good impression on them when they first approached him to build a bedroom addition onto their rural home in Citrus County through his company Bake Construction & Management, LLC. They just happened to see the sign on his truck during a visit to Ocala and gave him a call. The Thomas' say they did some cursory background checks and didn't uncover any red flags, so they signed a deal October 10 for Baker to build a $65,920 master bedroom and bathroom addition.

Boca Raton woman says contractor walked off job

02/02/15 www.local10.com

BOCA RATON, Fla. - When Susan Sabatino saw a "Call Christina" investigation about a contractor walking out on an older couple, the story was all too familiar. "(It was) exactly to the letter what he had said to me," she said, referencing Alejandro Morlans of Alex Millwork, Inc. "My heart -- you're hurting my heart. You're a terrible person. I'm a good person.' He was demented."


January 2015


17 Unlicensed contractors caught in Broward County sting


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) participated in a multi-agency undercover sting operation on January 21 – 22 targeting unlicensed contractors in Broward County. Working together with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Broward County Licensing Investigations & Enforcement and the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, investigators identified 17 unlicensed contractors who were allegedly offering estimates for contracting services which require a Florida license.


Unlicensed contracting investigation in Brevard nets four arrests

01/16/15 www.floridatoday.com

MELBOURNE, Fla. - An investigation conducted by a host of agencies produced four arrests on Thursday. According to a release from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, the BCSO Economics Crime Unit along with the Board of County Commissioners Planning & Development, the Florida Workers' Compensation Fraud Division and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, conducted a two-day investigation targeting unlicensed contractors in Brevard County on Wednesday and Thursday.


Sheriff's Operation Targets Unlicensed Contractors

01/16/15 www.spacecoastdaily.com

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Over the past two days, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office Economics Crimes Unit partnered with the Board of County Commissioners Planning & Development, the Florida Workers' Compensation Fraud Division and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to conduct a county-wide investigation to identify and address unlicensed contractors.


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