Volusia County law enforcement have concluded an extensive sting to catch several individuals throughout the area who had allegedly been posing as contractors without any official licenses or certifications. Investigators teamed up with the Flagler Home Builders Association and the City of Palm Coast to carry out the sting. It began with an ad placed in a newspaper to request a contractor’s help with a remodeling project.
A total of eight people so far have been arrested in Volusia County and Flagler County due to the sting operation, with five brought to charges. At this time, the charges are largely constituted of misdemeanors, like failing to secure workers’ compensation coverage and engaging in contracting business without certification. Someone posing as a contractor with no insurance could be charged with a felony crime, though.
At least one of the suspects has claimed that an undercover agent in the sting used undue influence to get him to accept the contracting job. Mr. Pagliuso was arrested because he was allegedly posing as a contracted plumber. He insisted that he was only a “drain specialist,” which requires no license. If an undercover agent coerced him into claiming he was a full-fledged and insured plumber, it could be tantamount to entrapment.
Another suspect, Mr. Smith, was arrested after allegedly just providing a written estimate to an undercover agent for a plumbing project he was not licensed to complete. It is important to note that without any physical work actually completed, it could be argued that those arrested in the sting did not intend on completing the jobs themselves. There remains a possibility that the individuals could have handed the job estimates to a licensed contractor, who would then choose to accept or deny the task.
It is also worth mentioning that Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood has been quoted as calling false contractors “parasites.” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, one of the law enforcement officers instrumental in the sting operation, also began work on the operation after his wife was nearly swindled by a false contractor. Both the statement and this occurrence could indicate heavy bias on behalf of investigators, which could lead to overzealous tactics and unjustified arrests.
For more information about this ongoing story, you can click here to read a full article posted by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. To retain the legal services of a Daytona Beach criminal defense law firm for a case of your own, you can turn to Buckmaster & Ellzey. We have 35+ years of total experience managing all sorts of difficult and complex criminal defense cases in Florida, including fraud and white collar crimes. Call 888.785.6548 or contact us online to begin.