Sarasota law enforcement partnered with the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on a sting operation to bust seventeen people who were allegedly doing unlicensed contract work.
During the three-day operation, detectives waited to see if the potential workers were licensed, registered, and insured to perform the work. The sting resulted in 17 arrests with 21 felony charges and 15 misdemeanor charges.
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Thirty people were arrested in a three-day sting to “flush-out” unlicensed contractors preying on property owners in Pinellas County. The sting produced at least 60 felony and misdemeanor charges against the violators. Operation Flush Out is Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s third sting since October 2017.
A Tampa Bay Times’ investigation in 2017 revealed how the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board preferred to punish unlicensed contractors with fines rather than pursue violations in criminal court. Contracting without a license carries a misdemeanor for first-time offenses and a felony the second time.
Pinellas County government took control of the agency on July 1st. Gualtieri launched the Construction Licensing Investigative Unit and trained deputies to investigate contracting crimes. The department’s previous stings in October and February netted more than 45 arrests and dozens of charges.
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