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Unlicensed Contracting in Pinellas County

In 2017, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board to investigate county ordinance and state law violations for contracting without a license. On July 1, 2018, the licensing board was abolished and the responsiblity for licensing was turned over to the Pinellas County Government.

Since that transition, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has continued to investigate criminal violations while working directly with the Pinellas County Government. The stated goal of these sting operations is to help protect citizens being exploited by those engaged in unlicensed contracting and workers’ compensation fraud.

During recent sting operations, several detectives with the Economic Crimes Unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with detectives with the Florida Department of Financial Services to conduct elaborate sting operations. The sting operation targeted workers suspected of:

According to a recently issued press released on the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office website, the most recent sting operation took place on November 3-5, 2018, in Maderia Beach, FL.

Attorney for Unlicensed Contracting in Pinellas County, FL

If you were arrested in Pinellas County for engaging in construction work without a valid workers’ compensation policy or lawfully issued permit, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We also help clients arrested for the failure to secure workers’ compensation insurance.

Defenses that can be asserted after an arrest during one of these sting operations include:

  • a showing that the suspect never agreed to do the specific work as alleged;
  • a showing that the work didn’t require a license or workers’ compensation;
  • the undercover detectives entrapped the worker who was not predisposed to commit the crime.

We fight these types of cases throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including in the Sixth Judicial Circuit which includes both Pinellas County and Pasco County, FL.

Our main office is located in downtown Tampa. We also have a second office located in New Port Richey, FL, in Pasco County. Contact us to discuss your case during a free and confidential consultation.

Call (813) 250-0500.

How Pinellas Detectives Set Up the Unlicensed Contractor Sting

During the most recent sting operation, detectives used several vacant store front located at 200 150th Avenue, Madeira Beach, in Pinellas County, to solicit suspects being set up for charges of unlicensed specialty contracting.

The sting operation worked by having the suspects come out to the scene to discuss a request to perform construction work at the stores. To find the suspects, the detectives used advertments found on various social media platforms including Facebook, Craigslist, and Next Door. The suspects were then asked to come to the business and met with undercover detectives.

The undercover detectives then asked the suspects to perform a variety of work that included tile work, drywall, painting, and electrical work. The detectives claim that each of the suspects who were arrested agreed to engage in this illegal contracting work without a license and without pulling a permit.

Who Was Arrested for Performing Construction Jobs without a License

During the sting operation, more than 35 suspects where arrested on 65 criminal charges including workers’ compensation fraud, unlicensed specialty contracting violations and other crimes related to unlicensed contracting. At least two additional charges were referred to the State Attorney’s Office for review after the undercover operation.

A total of 110 suspects arrested and over 240 criminal charges since the inception of the first undercover sting “Operation Nailed” on August 7, 2017.

Additional Resources

PCCLB List of Licensed Contractors – Homeowners in Pinellas County can search for licensed contractors or report unlicensed construction activity by visiting the PCCLB website here: . Citizens can also report violations of unlicensed contracting by contacting the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.

Crimes for Workers’ Compensation Fraud – For an employer or sole-proprietor engaged in the construction industry, the worker must be compliant with the workers’ compensation relations by having a valid workers’ compensation policy or lawfully issued exemption as required by Florida Statute Section 440.38.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

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