Florida CFO Jeff Atwater announced the arrests of nine men as a result of a two-day undercover operation in Manatee County focusing on unlicensed contractors that failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance.
State investigators with the Division of Insurance Fraud and Department of Business and Professional Regulation say they routinely monitor Internet sites, such as Craigslist and Angie’s List, to locate unlicensed scam artists. They also check advertised businesses for licensure and insurance requirements.
“Unlicensed activity is against the law and threatens the livelihood of licensed professionals who have demonstrated knowledge of the profession and have met all of the requirements prescribed by law to possess a state of Florida license,” said DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson.
Upon learning that several businesses within Manatee County failed to hold adequate workers’ compensation coverage, DFS began an investigation in partnership with DBPR and local law enforcement, which concluded that these same individuals were operating without being adequately licensed.
Officials said that undercover law enforcement agents arranged a meeting with the alleged unlicensed workers at a local home to obtain an estimate for construction work. Officials said they made the arrests after they secured a quote.
Multiple subjects were arrested and now face both workers’ compensation fraud and unlicensed contracting charges.
The operation was conducted by the DFS Division of Insurance Fraud and Bureau of Compliance, in concert with the DBPR, Manatee County Sheriff’s office, Bradenton and Holmes Beach Police departments and the Manatee County State Attorney’s Office.