CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces 13 Arrests in Pasco County Unlicensed Contractor Sting

Jimmy Patronis Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, August 18, 2022

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of thirteen unlicensed contractors in Pasco County. The joint operation between CFO Patronis’ fraud detectives, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) was launched to address unlicensed contractors who failed to obtain workers’ compensation coverage.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Workers’ compensation fraud places employees, customers, and businesses at unnecessary risk. Fraud also affects everyone’s rates and increases costs. This type of fraud is unethical and dangerous and absolutely will not be tolerated in our state. Cracking down on fraud is my top priority and my dedicated fraud detectives have made more than 1,500 arrests for workers' compensation fraud since I've been in office. I applaud the great teamwork between my fraud team, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the NICB, and the State Attorney’s Office on this successful sting operation and for holding these fraudsters accountable.”

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said, “The primary focus of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office is keeping our community safe and reducing victimization. This includes keeping our citizens safe from those who perpetuate fraud. As the Sheriff of Pasco County, my department and I will continue to fight fraud and bring these unscrupulous actors to justice. Thank you to CFO Patronis for his leadership in making Florida fraud-free, as well as the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services and the NICB for their assistance in making this operation a success."

From April 18 to April 28, 2022, the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services’ Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fraud, along with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, conducted a joint sting leading to the arrest of the following thirteen individuals were booked on charges that include Failure to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Unlicensed Contracting: 1) John Walden, 2) Hector Vasquez, 3) Jason Norris, 4) Daniel Parenti, 5) Wayne Loveless, 6) Leonard Bame, 7) Ratko Saranovic, 8) Christopher Casey, 9) Avery Briggs, 10) Stacey Briggs, 11) Michael Workman, 12) Raimundo Vargas, and 13) Gary Wright. All individuals were booked into the Pasco County Jail. Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. These individuals could each face up to five years in prison. These cases will be prosecuted by the Sixth Judicial Circuit Office of the State Attorney.

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