About 20 unlicensed contractors accused of scamming Pinellas County residents were taken into custody Tuesday.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, deputies began rounding up the contractors at 5 a.m. during “Operation Nailed.”
The men, roofers, painters and construction workers are accused of scamming residents out of thousands of dollars in the past few months.
The roundup was a collaborative operation between the Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Financial Services, Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, Pinellas County Consumer Protection and the State Attorney’s Office, targeting unlicensed contractors in Pinellas County.
Until two months ago, unlicensed contractors normally received simple fines. But in an effort to crack down on members of the public being taken advantage of, arrest warrants are now being issued.
In Florida, doing contractor work without a license is a misdemeanor for the first offense. After that, it is a felony. According to the PCSO, the pilot program targeting unlicensed contractors still has four months to go. So far, detectives are working as many as 220 cases.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that performing work for others, without a license, is “no big deal.” However, if you are convicted of contracting without a license, there will be additional consequences on top of potential jail time and fines. You will also have a permanent criminal record, which can make it more difficult to apply for jobs, to apply for other professional licenses, to obtain housing, or to pass a background check.