Unlicensed contractor leaves 80-year-old with $100K mess

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The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on crooked contractors who rip people off.

Most recently, an 80-year-old lady was taken advantage of.

Deputy Howard Miller has seen a lot but says this case ranks pretty high on the outrage scale.

"I wouldn't want it done to my family member, nor would I want it done to them," Miller said.

The victim, in this case, is almost 81 years old and lives alone. She hired what she thought was a licensed contractor to make renovations to her home.

"This is not right," Miller said looking at the supposed contractor’s work. "This whole door is crooked. It’s not level."

Deputy Miller says it appears the person she hired is not licensed and ripped her off by more than $100,000.

"My guess is, it's gone. It's spent," Miller predicted of that money.

The lady's daughter rushed in to deal with this mess once she realized something was wrong.

We are not revealing her identity because no arrest has been made in this case and we don’t want to compromise the investigation.

"The problem is; we don’t live here. It's hard to deal with and be 3,000 miles away," the victim’s daughter said.

Uneven concrete poured, beams installed incorrectly, money put down for appliances never bought, and uneven tiles are just some of the items they’re left to deal with.

"It's painful. It's really, really upsetting," she said.

Since July, the sheriff’s office has been in charge of cracking down on crooked contractors. Since its investigative unit started, deputies have received more than 300 complaints and made 20 arrests through Operation Nailed.

"This type of enforcement was much needed and was lacking in the past," explained John Spoor with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators’ message to the contractor who ripped off this 80-year-old woman: We are coming after you.

If you hire a contractor, you can verify online whether or not their license is real.