A six month Jacksonville, Florida investigation that involved multiple law enforcement entities ended with the arrest of thirty-one people recently, according to an article on News4Jax.com. The undercover law enforcement agents apparently advertised on the Internet on websites like Craigslist for contractors to perform home repairs and other projects typically done by contractors and subcontractors. If the individuals who responded to the ads attempted to perform the work without the required contractor’s license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the people were arrested.
Florida law makes it criminal for contractors to do certain things without a contractor’s license. For instance, it is a crime in Florida to give someone the impression or advertise that he/she is licensed when he/she is not, impersonate someone who is licensed, knowingly give false information to obtain a contractor’s license and do any work that requires a contractor’s license without a license.
For first time violators of this law in Florida, it is a first degree misdemeanor which can be punishable by up to a year in jail. However, the crime can become a third degree felony punishable by five years in prison under certain circumstances. If a person commits a second violation of this law, it is a third degree felony. If a person commits a violation after the Governor declares a state of emergency, perhaps after a hurricane, it is a third degree felony even for a first time violation.
When the economy is bad and jobs are hard to come by, some people may try and do some extra contracting work or take jobs out of necessity. For someone doing contracting work without a license, it is important to understand that it may be a crime and apparently law enforcement officials are taking the time and effort to investigate these cases.