The Sarasota County Sheriff's Department announced on July 17, 2017 that they had arrested nine men for posing as licensed contractors. A spokesperson for the police department describes the men as being smooth-talking businessmen that despite having the ability to talk a good game, lacked the necessary skills to properly carry out the most basic construction projects. They also completed work without permits.
The county's police department collaborated with the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association in this case to bring the men to justice. The organization notes that they routinely work alongside local police authorities in an attempt to ensure homeowners don't fall prey to fake contractors.
They noted that when it comes to these unlicensed contractors, homeowners only find out about the contractor's lack of ability to perform quality work once they've already turned over their money to them. It's then they realize they have no recourse against them as they have no contractor's license that can be revoked and there's no corporation that can be sued.
This roundup, nicknamed Operation Free Lancer IV by Sarasota County police, is a nod to the fact that this is the fourth time law enforcement in the area has initiated a similar effort. A spokesperson with the police force notes that these men aren't new to violating the law. Among these group most recently arrested, they share a combination of 40 misdemeanor or felony convictions.
While authorities recommend for all homeowners to look up contractors' licenses and to request a copy of their insurance before they initiate work on their home; they note that few do that. This is one of the reasons why Sarasota's police department has become involved in rounding up rogue contractors. They say it's a public safety matter. They want every homeowner to feel fairly treated and safe in their homes.
If you've been taken advantage of by an unlicensed contractor or have had shoddy work carried out by a licensed one, then you may benefit from discussing your case with a Melbourne, Florida, construction litigation attorney.
Source: FOX 13 News, "9 contractor imposters arrested in Sarasota Co.," Kimberly Kuizon, July 18, 2017