BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - A Manatee County man was sentenced to six months probation after being caught in a sting operation to catch unlicensed contractors.
Fredrick Moscato was convicted March 24 of acting in the capacity of a contractor without being registered or certified. He was also ordered to complete 15 hours of community service, and pay $100 toward the cost of investigation to MSO, $200 toward the cost of investigation to DFIS, court costs, and costs of prosecution.
A sting operation conducted in June 2019 by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Financial Services Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, and Department of Business and Professional Regulation, was in response to frequent complaints from homeowners who experience problems due to work performed by unlicensed contractors.
Local advertisements for plumbing or electrical contracting work that did not provide a contractor’s license number, and/or that advertised “handyman” services were identified. An undercover officer posing as a homeowner contacted the advertisers and invited them to the sting location to see if they would bid for plumbing or electrical services. Individuals, including Moscato, who bid to provide services without having a license or insurance were arrested.
“Unlicensed contracting is not an inconsequential or victimless crime,“ said Twelfth Circuit Assistant State Attorney Ashley Gaillard, the lead prosecutor in the case. “Licensed contractors are often called to repair work done by unlicensed workers and insurance companies may not cover damage caused by unlicensed contractors.”
Homeowners can verify if anyone doing work in their home has a license at www.myfloridalicense.com.