In an effort to protect consumers from unlicensed contractor scams, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), carried out a successful sting operation on March 1st and 2nd, 2023. The operation targeted unlicensed contractors advertising services that require state licensure, resulting in the arrest of six individuals in the area.
DBPR investigators meticulously researched and identified contractors advertising services that mandate a state license. Undercover DBPR investigators, posing as homeowners seeking estimates for various jobs, interacted with these contractors to assess their compliance with licensing regulations.
As a consequence of the investigation, six unlicensed contractors are now facing charges for engaging in contracting business without proper certification. The Okaloosa County Department of Growth Management actively supported the investigation, ensuring a comprehensive approach to tackling unlicensed activity in the area.
Sheriff Eric Aden emphasized the importance of verifying licenses and insurance when hiring contractors, especially with the 2023 hurricane season underway. He urged the public to take a few minutes to check online and ensure they are protecting their property and finances from unlicensed contractors who are breaking the law.
DBPR Secretary Melanie S. Griffin expressed gratitude to Sheriff Aden and local partners for their collaboration in safeguarding consumers from unlicensed activity scams. She encouraged homeowners and business owners to verify contractor licenses at MyFloridaLicense.com to guarantee the hiring of licensed professionals with the expertise and insurance coverage required for high-quality work, ensuring safety and avoiding financial liabilities for damages.
Daemond Keith Powers (36 years old, from Milton): Engaging in contracting business without a license. Misdemeanor. First violation. Arrested on June 6. Powers advertised his business, “Daemond on Demand,” on Facebook and provided estimates for jobs that required specialty contractor licensure.
Samuel Murat Welshans (28 years old, from Navarre): Engaging in contracting business without a license. 1st violation. Welshans, under the name Destiny Remodling/Destiny Renewed LLC, gave an estimate of $13,800 for a bathroom remodel to an undercover DBPR investigator, which included plumbing and installation of exterior doors and windows. He was arrested on June 7th.
David Kuenzel (60 years old, from Fort Walton Beach): Engaging in contracting business without a license. Kuenzel sent the general manager of Honey Do Services to bid on a construction job that required specialized and regulated licenses on March 2nd. DBPR obtained an estimate for various tasks, including window and bathroom work, totaling $22,535.44.
Christopher Edward Carroll (39 years old, from Crestview): Engaging in contracting business without certification. Under the business name C&B Plumbing Repair and Handyman, Carroll gave a detailed scope of work for bathroom-related activities, requiring contractor licensure. His estimate was $1350, and he was arrested on June 6.
Robert Newton Carroll (70 years old, from Crestview): Engaging in contracting business without a certificate. On March 2nd, Robert and his co-defendant, Christopher Carroll (C&B Plumbing Repair & Handyman LLC), provided a quote for bathroom work that necessitated licensure as a contractor in Florida. Both were arrested, with Robert being apprehended on May 8th.
William Christopher Strickland (38 years old, from Defuniak Springs): Engaging in contracting business without a certificate. 1st violation. Strickland, operating under the business name Superior Plumbing 850 LLC, provided an estimate for a bathroom remodel that included plumbing work requiring a plumbing license. His estimate went up to $3000, and he was arrested on April 28th.