The accused unlicensed contractors face misdemeanor, as well as felony charges.
DUNEDIN, FL—As part of a year-long effort to eliminate unlicensed contractors doing construction work, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover sting operation over the weekend that nabbed 39 individuals who attempted to perform unlicensed construction work, according to a press release issued by the Sheriff’s Office.
The undercover operation was conducted at a vacant residence located at 875 Sky Loch Drive in Dunedin, and began on Saturday, February 16, 2019 and ended on Monday, February 18, 2019. During this undercover operation, undercover detectives were solicited by unlicensed specialty contracting suspects who offered to perform illegal unlicensed contracting work at the residence.
Detectives say these unlicensed contractors were found advertising on websites to include Facebook, Craigslist, Next Door, and various other social media platforms. The suspects came to the residence and met with undercover detectives while offering to do a variety of work that included electrical, painting, drywall, and tile work.
“The most bizarre example was a man who advertised himself on Craigslist as the “Topless Handyman,” reports the Tampa Bay Times. “The ad shows Jason Liggitt, 46, wearing short-shorts and no shirt.”
“I can put up your fence, or take down your shed,” the ad reads. “Paint your wall, or trip your door. I can hang your curtains, or lay your floor. I’ll do it topless, but don’t ask for more!”
Liggitt showed up to the sting in an Uber car with no tools, Gualtieri said. Like many of those arrested, he faces charges of misdemeanor unlicensed specialty contracting and felony failure to secure workers’ compensation.
To date, there has been a total of 152 suspects arrested and over 330 criminal charges since the inception of the first undercover operation, “Operation Nailed” on August 7, 2017, according to the Sheriff’s office. The total monetary amount quoted by these suspects has been close to $700,000.00.