SUN CITY CENTER, FL — Twenty-seven unlicensed contractors were arrested in Sun City Center by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office during a 10-day sting, authorities said. The suspects include a high-risk sexual offender among those arrested in a crackdown on home remodel scams.
Each suspect faces charges of unlawful acts while in the capacity of a contractor.
Deputies said the undercover operation was conducted from Sept. 21 through Oct. 2 in an area where many elderly residents often fall victim to cons and scams, including construction fraud.
A high-risk sexual offender and unlicensed contractor, Keith Hall, 49, was among the 27 men arrested, investigators said.
Hall was currently on GPS-monitored felony probation after being convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim 12 to 15 years of age, lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim less than 16 years of age and promoting sexual performance of a child when he offered to remodel a walk-in shower for $1,600, authorities said.
According to law enforcement officials, the unlicensed contractors offered to replace or remodel bathrooms, doors, windows and said they could pour sidewalks around the property.
Quotes the suspects gave the undercover deputies who posed as homeowners ranged anywhere from $320 to $13,000, said police.
“When you hire a contractor, you expect professionalism and complete accountability,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “By hiring someone who does not have the proper credentials, you don’t know who you’re allowing into your home or the damage they could potentially cause to your property. During the ongoing pandemic, many people are in the house more often and looking for ways to fix up their homes. We urge homeowners to do their research before committing to an expensive service that requires professional training and experience.”
Anyone who believes they are a victim of contractor fraud is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Homeland Security Division (813) 247-8622.