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: