Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
-Strategic Enforcement Section (S.E.S.)
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation
The Department of Financial Services Insurance Fraud Unit
Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board
A multi-agency undercover operation has resulted in the identification and arrests of 10 individuals who were practicing as unlicensed contractors in Pinellas County. The 10 have been issued misdemeanor notices to appear for violation of the unlicensed contractor statute. (FL Statute # 489.127). The investigation resulted in several other charges to include:
-9 Cease and Desist citations with no fine and 1 $2500 fine issued by the members of the Florida Deparment of Business and Professional Regulation
-9 $500 fines issued by the members of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.
-2 Unrelated misdemeanor arrests for DWLSR and 1 vehicle impound
The operation was conducted during the week of December 10 – 13, 2012
The sting was conducted at a private home in Dunedin.
The multi-agency operation targeted unlicensed contractors who advertised various types of home repair services to include, roofing, AC repair, plumbing and electrical work. The unlicensed contractors were identified through advertisements listed on Craig’s List, Angie’s List and the Seminole Beacon. According to investigators all the identified ads were published without a license number in the ad.
Investigators made 38 phone calls to the individuals listed in the advertisements and scheduled appointments to the home in Dunedin. A total of 10 individuals from 8 ads arrived and offered their repair services. Quotes ranged anywhere from $50 up to about $1500 depending on the service. Deputies say in one instance one individual offering AC repair services quoted $1567 and wanted $783 immediately.
All 10 of the individuals were issued notices to appear for violation of the unlicensed contractor statute listed above, a second degree misdemeanor. Additional citations and fines are listed above.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who announced the results of the operation, urged Pinellas County residents to protect themselves. “It is very important that people use licensed contractors for work in their homes. Take the time to verify those licenses in order to avoid becoming a victim to those who would prey upon those needing home repair services,” said the Sheriff.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation added: Florida law sets specific rules and guidelines for obtaining professional licensure, and the people who have met these requirements are held to professional standards. Consumers can verify professional licenses online at www.myfloridalicense.com. Floridians should report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1-866-532-1440.
Citizens in Pinellas County may also verify an individual’s license through the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board website at www.pcclb.org.
The investigation continues.
ARRESTED SUBJECTS (NTA’s) are as listed below:
Michael David Morrison Jr.
Address: 6465 142nd Avenue North #U104, Clearwater
Eric Michael Pusateri
Address: 307 Avery Avenue #B,Palm Harbor
John Samuel Young
Address:9925 Ulmerton Road #253, Largo
Nicholas Achilles Vaseliades
Address: 10930 53rd Avenue North St. Petersburg
Lynnoid Damon Stewart
Address: 260 Kingston Street South, St. Petersburg
Robert Bhola Deonarine
Address: 6456 41st Avenue North, St. Petersburg
Michael J. Perez
Address: 1146 Mancha Real Drive Orlando
Juan J. Dones
Address: 605 Del Rio Street, Orlando
Gamal Ibrahim Baker
2770 Roosevelt Boulevard #3303, Clearwater
Randy Scott Carr
Address: 530 4th Street Northwest, Largo