Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, June 22, 2023
An undercover operation targeting unlicensed contractors involved in construction fraud resulted in the apprehension of 22 people facing multiple charges.
On May 26, 2023, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office began 'Operation Hot Water,' focusing on unlicensed contractors who advertise and offer quotes for regulated trades such as plumbing, electrical work, roofing, air conditioning, and more. Undercover deputies posed as homeowners seeking electrical and plumbing services for a water heater, attracting suspects who attempted to contract work without possessing valid contractor's licenses or proper insurance.
Sheriff Chad Chronister expressed his satisfaction with the operation's outcome: "This sends an unequivocal statement that we will not tolerate the despicable actions of fraudulent and unlicensed contractors who prey upon our community members."
To protect the community from falling victim to construction fraud, Sheriff Chronister urges everyone to take practical measures, including verifying licenses, seeking multiple estimates, investigating references, documenting everything in written contracts, avoiding upfront payments, researching complaints, and trusting their instincts.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office encourages residents to report any suspected fraudulent activities by calling 813-247-8200.