Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford and Sheriff Tommy Ford Announce the Formation of a Construction Fraud Task Force
This morning, Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford and Sheriff Tommy Ford announced the formation of a Construction Fraud Task Force. Chief ASA Basford stated that we appreciate all of the people who have come to our community to help us survive, recover, and rebuild our community; specifically, the law enforcement officers, linemen, tree surgeons, and construction workers. However, we remember what happened in the aftermath of Hurricanes Andrew and Opal: many of our citizens were victimized again by people who came here to help only themselves; specifically, unlicensed contractors and roofers that took advantage of our neighbors desperate to get their homes fixed.
Determined not to let this happen again, Chief ASA Basford and Sheriff Ford met and decided to form a Construction Fraud Task Force. A team of prosecutors, law enforcement officers, local building inspectors, and agents from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The mission of the task force is simple:
1. To deter unlicensed and unethical contractors and repairmen from committing fraud, grand theft, and substandard construction, and
2. To arrest and aggressively prosecute those people who violate the law.
Contracting without a license during a state of emergency is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Chief ASA Basford had a clear message for unlicensed contractors: If you’re not licensed, either get licensed, or get out of our town. We will not permit you to victimize our citizens, friends, and neighbors again. If you violate the law, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, and you will go to jail.