May 24, 2019 by WorkCompWire

Sarasota, FL – The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 17 people on multiple charges during the continuation of an undercover operation 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 subjects arrived at the target residence in southern Sarasota County last week, the DBPR database was checked to determine if they were licensed, registered as a contractor, and/or had the required workers compensation coverage or exemption to perform the work they proposed to do.

In all, the second part of the operation resulted in 21 felony charges and 15 misdemeanor charges. The following individuals were arrested during the three-day operation. Their arrests are in addition to six arrests announced by the sheriff’s office in April.

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.

“These arrests serve as a strong reminder to always do your research before selecting someone to work on your home or business,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “Consumers are exposing themselves to financial and physical risk by allowing these people to enter their home unlicensed. Not only does this pose a threat to consumers, it also directly effects legitimate business owners doing the right thing and operating within the parameters of the law.”

“When Floridians need to make improvements or repairs to their home, they deserve to have the confidence that the work will be done honestly, completely, and according to professional standards that are designed to protect them and their families,” said DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears. “I appreciate the hard work of our state and local partners in Operation Hammer Down whose support helps bring both enforcement and awareness to this important public concern.”

The complete list of arrests is available here: Sarasota Sheriff’s Office:17 Arrests for Unlicensed Contracting

Source: Sarasota Sheriff’s Office