Winknews.com, Matthew Seaver, November 15, 2022
The North Port Police Department has arrested six people due to an undercover investigation into unlicensed contractors.
Police say an unlicensed contractor task force was established on November 1 called “Operation Con-Tractor.”
North Port detectives say they called the numbers advertised by several contractors on roadside signs and community social media sites. Detectives found several unlicensed contractors who were conducting unlawful roofing repairs.
The six people arrested are Eduardo Montalvo Martinez, Steven Michael Dobrowski, Guillermo Zayas, Lee Edgar Freels, Cooper Kyle Marshall, and Myer Morris Stabinsky. All are facing charges of unlicensed contracting related offenses.
Three additional people were identified by the undercover operation and are still wanted for the same charges as those above. Those three are Henris Eliazar Ponce Lopez, Chase S. Williamson, and Dennis Daniel Cardona Zeron.
If you have information about those involved or think you have fallen victim to illegal unlicensed contracting work or fraud, you can call 941-429-7300.
If you have any building-related questions, you can call the North Port Building Division at 941-429-7044.
North Port urges consumers to follow these tips before hiring anyone to work on their property:
- Only hire licensed contractors and ask to see their license. Verify the license at www.myfloridalicense.com or call 850-487-1395. Licensed contractors are required by law to include their license number in all advertising. An occupational or business license is not sufficient in the construction trades.
- If the project is for repairing damage, check with your insurance company before you sign a contractor to verify that your insurance will cover the repairs.
- Obtain at least three written bids, check references, and get a written contract.
- Beware of contractors who claim to be the cheapest, solicit door-to-door, or give a post office box instead of a street address.
- Avoid any contractor who tries to convince you to personally obtain building permits or those building permits are not necessary for the project.
- Beware of alleged contractors who ask to be paid in cash or ask for large payments up front. Avoid paying cash or full payment in advance. Don’t pay more than 10 percent as a down payment. Once you’re happy with the quote, get job details, costs, and payment schedule in writing before signing the final contract.
- Avoid signing anything stating your insurance benefits will be paid directly to the contractor.