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Pinellas County
Unlicensed contractors arrested in sting
Article published on Monday, June 24, 2013
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CLEARWATER - The Pinellas County Office of Consumer Protection announced results from a sting June 21 aimed at cracking down on unlicensed contractors.

The suspects were found through Craigslist ads, business cards posted to bulletin boards at local businesses and phone number “tear-off” solicitations. Investigators sought bids for general home renovations, including kitchen remodeling, flooring, drywall repairs and electrical work.

The purpose of the operation was to protect consumers from the dangers of hiring an unlicensed individual, which could result in financial harm, safety concerns and damage to consumers’ homes. In all, nine individuals were arrested and charged with 15 misdemeanor counts of unlicensed contracting and nine felony counts of failure to secure workers compensation insurance.

The sting operation was a joint investigation with Pinellas County Consumer Protection, the Office of the State Attorney 6th Judicial Circuit and the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. Pinellas County Consumer Protection urges consumers to follow these tips before hiring anyone to work on their property:

• Only hire licensed contractors and ask to see their license. Verify the license at www.myfloridalicense.com

• Check the complaint history of a business at www.pinellascounty.org/consumer

• Don’t pay more than 10 percent as a downpayment

• Obtain at least three bids, check references, and get a written contract

• Be suspicious of individuals who ask for payment in full up front, solicit door-to-door or ask to be paid in cash only

For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit www.pinellascounty.org.
Article published on Monday, June 24, 2013
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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