VIDEO: Deputies arrest 17 alleged unlicensed contractors in sting operation

VIDEO: Deputies arrest 17 alleged unlicensed contractors in sting operation

SARASOTA (WWSB) - Seventeen people who the sheriff’s office says were doing contract work without a license are facing charges following a sting operation in Sarasota County.

Detectives teamed up 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 to reach out to people who were advertising home repair services that require a license to complete.

“The aim of this operation is for the people that are doing the wrong thing that we’re out there to protect the citizens of Sarasota County and we’re out there to go ahead and stop them and let them know that Sarasota County we don’t authorize this and will not allow them to be doing any kind of construction work within our county," Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Adam Kaskey said.

As people arrived at the target home in southern Sarasota County last week, detectives were waiting to see if they were licensed, registered, and if they had the insurance coverage required to perform the work.

As people arrived at the target home in southern Sarasota County last week, detectives were waiting to see if they were licensed, registered, and if they had the insurance coverage required to perform the work.
As people arrived at the target home in southern Sarasota County last week, detectives were waiting to see if they were licensed, registered, and if they had the insurance coverage required to perform the work. (Source: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office)

In all, the three-day operation resulted in 17 arrests and a total of 21 felony charges and 15 misdemeanor charges. Those arrested include:

  • Stanley B. Brown, 56, of Nokomis, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Antonio Caputo, 77, of Rotonda West, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Amie L. Criss, 36, of Bradenton, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Oscar Cortes, 25, of Bradenton, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting, Workers Compensation Fraud and Possession of Marijuana Under 20 Grams.
  • Charles H. Davis Jr., 61, of Venice, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • George W. Dills, 55, of Venice, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Chad A. Fagenbaum, 47, of Venice, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Forest C. Freeman, 46, of Sarasota, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Phillip G. Greenwell, 58, of Bradenton, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Michael Kropsch, 56, of North Port, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Julius Kubricky, 56, of Sarasota, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • Jeffrey J. Levelle, 62, of Englewood, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • David Nondorf, 47, of Venice, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.
  • James A. Pusateri Jr., 54, of Englewood, is charged Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud. He has a prior arrest in Sarasota County for similar crimes.
  • Paul Sorke, 49, of North Port, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud. Sorke has two prior arrests in Sarasota County for similar crimes.
  • James L. Tate, 53, of Bradenton, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting, Workers Compensation Fraud, and Possession of Controlled Substance.
  • Phil Van Brandt, 58, of Sarasota, is charged with Unlicensed Contracting and Workers Compensation Fraud.

“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.”

Consumers can verify if the contractor they’re looking to work with has a license by visiting the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at www.myfloridalicense.com, by calling 850.487.1395, or downloading the free DBPR Mobile app through iTunes or the Google Play store.

To check a Sarasota County license, call the Customer Service and Permit Center at 941-861-6678 or 941-861-3029.

“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.”

To report someone you suspect is acting as an unlicensed contractor or performing work without a permit, call 941-861-5000. For more information visit https://www.scgov.net/government/planning-and-development-services/building .

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