MyFloridaCFO, May 9, 2023
Ft. Myers, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Eric Harris on charges of Worker's Compensation Fraud and Unlicensed Contracting During a State of Emergency for allegedly contracting to conduct home repairs without the required state licensure and insurance coverage.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "Defrauding a homeowner following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian is absolutely despicable and will not be tolerated in Florida. Unlicensed activity puts everyone at risk and ultimately leaves storm victims in the lurch. This contractor took the money, but didn’t do the work. Often bad actors who defraud consumers don’t carry workers comp coverage, so we’re able to take them off the street so no one else is defrauded. Florida consumers must always stay on guard and be on the lookout for unlicensed activity. If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, report it to my Insurance Fraud Hotline immediately at 1-800-378-0445. Huge thank you to my dedicated fraud detectives and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation for their help in this investigation."
In November 2022, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) initiated an investigation based upon a consumer complaint in Fort Myers. The complaint alleged that Eric Harris of All Phase Renovation & Construction engaged in contracted related fraud based on working without the state mandated workers compensation insurance and unlicensed activity following Hurricane Ian in September 2022. DBPR's investigation revealed that All Phase Renovation & Construction engaged in services including demolition, mold remediation, and removal of insulation. However, DBPR found no active relevant license for either Harris or All Phase Renovation & Construction. In March 2023, a consumer gave a statement to the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) Fort Myers Field Office stating that they hired Harris to complete demolition and remediation at their home after Hurricane Ian. They paid Harris $2,800 but he allegedly abandoned the job.
Eric Harris surrendered to DIFS detectives on May 8, 2023 and was booked into the Lee County Jail. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 5 years in prison.