Disgruntled Contractor Takes Advantage No More

Human Services Spotlight Series #19

“Contractor” Showed License That Wasn’t His

A construction worker showed customers a contractors license and insurance that belonged to another when negotiating for jobs. He took down payments but did no work.

In August 2016, a Pinellas County homeowners association contracted with an individual advertising themselves to be a licensed and insured construction contractor to install vinyl siding on four buildings for $43,800. The so-called contractor provided records showing he was licensed and insured.

The association’s treasurer gave him a $17,250 down payment. The worker failed to provide any services, materials or a refund.

In April 2017, this same person contracted with another Pinellas County homeowner, again to install vinyl siding and French doors on the consumer’s home for $8,100. The homeowner gave him a $3,240 down payment. He failed to return to the job site to do any work and failed to provide any materials.

This so-called contractor was using someone else’s contractors license number on his advertisements and business cards. The license number belonged to a contractor who alerted authorities that this individual was a former employee using his license without his permission or knowledge.

Both the association and the homeowner reported these incidents to Pinellas County Consumer Protection. The scope of the work contracted would have required the individual to hold a contractors license that he did not have.

A diligent and thorough Consumer Protection investigation resulted in the State Attorney’s Office filing multiple charges including Unlicensed Contracting and Grand Theft. The individual was sentenced to five years’ probation with the Florida Department of Corrections. He also had to pay multiple fees, fines and a combined total of $20,065.36 in restitution.

Protect – Regulate – Investigate – Educate

Sometimes it is hard to spot fraud when it is happening. Scams can be large or small, sophisticated or simple, but the people behind them have two things in common: They want to steal your money and avoid being caught. The reality is anyone could fall victim to a scam, no matter your age, intellect or economic status. Most consumer transactions are completed satisfactorily. On occasion, however, any consumer could experience unresolved problems such as defective products, erroneous bills or nondelivery of goods or services.

When you are confronted with such a situation, the dedicated employees of Pinellas County Consumer Protection are here to help you. Investigators are available to speak with you regarding a consumer transaction at (727) 464-6200 or email consumer@pinellas.gov.