A contractor charged with taking a large down-payment from an elderly couple following Hurricane Michael and then failing to perform the work or refund the money has been found guilty of Grand Theft, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Luis Armando Perez, 54, of Jacksonville, was found guilty of Grand Theft over $300 Monday after a bench trial before Circuit Judge Dustin Stephenson. A bench trial means the defendant waived his right to a jury.
Prosecutor Frank Sullivan presented evidence gathered by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office that the defendant accepted a $7,138 down-payment for work on a home that belonged to an elderly couple, but the work never took place. The payment represented about 10 percent of the full price of the repairs to the hurricane-damaged home.
Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Craig Romans made the arrest in June, 2019, about 6 months after the victims had written the defendant and his company, G&G Repairs, a check – which evidence showed was cashed about three days later.
Sullivan presented testimony and evidence that included a recorded call between the defendant and a law enforcement officer, during which Perez admitted receiving the money, not conducting any repairs and refusing to issue a refund.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Stephenson found the defendant guilty of Grand Theft. He sentenced him to 23 days in the county jail and ordered him to repay the $7,138.00, in addition to other court costs and fines.
Perez’ time in the county jail will be followed by 5 years’ probation.
For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 381-7454.