Unlicensed contracting, four people arrested

crystal river, citrus gazette, contractors
Shannon Danekas [left] and Juan Borges
Citrus County — The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), on June 21, 2019, concluded a joint investigation with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), CCSO’s Seniors vs Crime, and the Citrus County Building Department, rooting out unlicensed individuals who advertise and perform regulated construction work in Citrus County.

In a press release, Community Relations Specialist Jodi Sanders, said that the CCSO’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) and Community Crimes Detectives arrested four individuals for violations of Florida state statute related to unlicensed contracting.

Investigators arrested Jennifer Hatch, 37, Robert Hatch, 36, Juan Borges, 64, and Shannon Danekas, 34.

All four suspects were issued Cease and Desist notices by DBPR and civil citations for violation of county ordinance by the building department.

Investigators said that these unlicensed individuals can cause problems for legitimate contractors as they often falsely portray themselves as having proper licensure. Citizens fall victim to them and unknowingly open themselves up to liability. Licensed contractors must pay workers’ compensation, insurance and license fees making it harder for them to compete with the prices of unlicensed individuals who do not adhere to these regulations.

The most problematic issues investigators see with unlicensed individuals is their willingness to defraud their customers by taking large down payments and never returning to perform the work. Additionally, it is often more difficult and more expensive to hire a licensed contractor to come in behind an unlicensed individual to fix their mistakes.

“Once again we have had great success in cleaning up the streets of Citrus County by continuing to work with other state and local agencies,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “We are proud to collaborate with local government partners who value excellence in public safety.”

Booking photos for Jennifer and Robert Hatch were not available.