Unlicensed contractor guilty, must pay $42,473 restitution

A Central Florida man found guilty Tuesday of performing post-hurricane repairs while falsely claiming to hold a contractor’s license was put on probation and ordered to make restitution, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark found Jack Arnold Yandle, III, 43, guilty of Engaging in Contracting Without a License During a State of Emergency at the end of his one-day bench trial. Clark gave the defendant 5 years’ probation for the third-degree felony and ordered him to pay $42,470.23 in restitution to the victim. A bench trial means the judge hears the case instead of a jury and renders a verdict.

The DBPR app to instantly check if a worker holds a contracting license is available for free in the Apple Store and Google Play.

“When people come into our community and take advantage of our residents by performing work without being licensed, we are going to hold them accountable,” said Prosecutor Morgan McAfee. “We take contracting without a license seriously, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Michael.”

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Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane, struck Oct. 10, 2018. The defendant, claiming to hold a contractor’s license, was hired by a Callaway homeowner for a series of repairs including the roof, replacing doors, and replacing windows – all of which require a contractor’s license.

The victim later contacted the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to report the defendant performed some of the work improperly, then left without completing the job.

An investigation showed the defendant had never held a contractor’s license in Florida.

Basford said the case is a reminder that anyone hiring someone to do work that requires a contractor’s license should verify they hold a license. It only takes minutes online with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, or through the DBPR’s smart phone app. The website is www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp.

Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for its work on the case.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454.