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.
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