Thursday, October 29, 2009

Joint Operation Nets 9 Unlicensed Contractors

As part of a joint two-day operation, Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested and charged nine men this week with submitting bids for home improvements without being properly licensed.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, members of CCSO’s Financial Crimes Bureau and Technical Equipment Unit, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), and Collier County Community Development and Environmental Services-Contractor Licensing conducted an operation to identify persons advertising their services to perform electrical and plumbing work without the required licenses.

After it was determined that the contractors were not properly licensed, undercover DBPR inspectors met with them individually to bid on residential electrical and plumbing work.

Each of the contractors provided bids for the requested work. CCSO deputies then arrested them on a charge of contracting without a license, a misdemeanor.

The following nine individuals were issued notices to appear in court and released:

Jirayr Ozboyaci, 63, of 12799 Kederson Circle, Fort Myers.
Todd W. Schilling, 35, 3299 Megan Lane #4, Naples
Ronnie James Huckabee, 53, 2280 Pineland St., Naples
Terrance Michael Rokosh, 45, 5490 25th Place S.W., Golden Gate
John D. Seibold, 59, 608 Gerald Ave. #226, Lehigh Acres
Dale Scott Samuels, 51, 4365 11th Ave. S.W., Golden Gate
Paul S. Slavin, 50, 2651 Grand Palm Drive #204, Naples
Douglas E. Synowski, 43, 1997 Clark Court #B, Naples
John Timothy Wortham, 48, 1200 22nd Ave. N., Naples

Florida law requires that persons who want to perform general, building and residential construction to become licensed.

“We advise anyone who is looking to hire a contractor to request to see proof that the individual is properly licensed in Florida,” said Lt. Chad Parker of CCSO’s Financial Crimes Bureau.

Licensed contractors are required to be insured, meaning that if a homeowner hires an unlicensed contractor, they can also become liable for any injuries sustained during the job.

Bill Wendle, executive officer for the Collier Building Industry Association, said the joint operation serves to help warn consumers of the pitfalls in hiring such contractors and highlights what is a consumer safety issue. Unlicensed contractors haven’t shown that they know how to properly perform the work they’re hired to do, he said.

“These unregulated and uninspected structures endanger residents, future residents and the public,” Wendle said.

Checking a contractor’s license can be done online through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Web site. All consumers will need to know is the contractor’s name:

Click on “Verify a License”
Select “Search by Name” and click “Search”
Enter the contractor’s last and first names
Select “License Category” and click “Constructions Industry”
Click “Search”
A list of licenses that match the individual name entered will be displayed. Click on each record to view the business name associated with that individual license.