SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The owner of a Sarasota company is under arrest after deputies say he defrauded his clients out of more than $230,000.
The sheriff’s office began investigating 49-year-old James Gerard, owner of Jamestown Kitchens on Washington Boulevard in Sarasota, in December 2019. A victim came to the sheriff’s office and reported she had given the company a $17,000 deposit in March 2019 to remodel two bathrooms in her condo, but no work had been completed.
Detectives say they found 11 additional victims in Sarasota County who had given Jamestown Kitchens an estimated $232,500 and never received service. Detectives say there are several other victims in neighboring Manatee, Pinellas and HIllsborough counties.
During the investigating, on January 14, Gerard declared himself the registered agent for a new business known as JLG Kitchen Planning and Design, LLC. Detectives say on January 30, Gerard reported a moving van with $2,500 in cabinetry had been stolen from his new business.
The moving van belonged to Home Depot and after Gerard failed to return it and his credit card was declined, the store recovered it. Detectives say GPS data showed the van had been taken to a cabinet business in Orlando where he attempted to return materials purchased from the company in 2018.
Gerard was arrested Thursday and charged with a single felony count of Scheme to Defraud Greater than $50,000.
Gerard remains in custody on $20,000 bond and detectives say additional charges are pending.
Anyone with information related to Jamestown Kitchens or JLG Kitchen Planning and Design, LLC is asked to contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900.