LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Only WINK News took you inside an undercover sting operation in Cape Coral. And now we're learning the city is working with the state to track repeat unlicensed contractors. They're in the process of creating a state-wide database.
The database could be up and running within a year. The city of Cape coral, working with a task force of law enforcement agencies, and the state is in the "information sharing stages."
If you're an unlicensed contractor and you get caught in Cape Coral, and found guilty, it's a misdemeanor with a 500 dollar fine. The third time you get caught, its supposed to be a felony.
But as code enforcement officer Frank Cassidy explains, the second or third time an unlicensed contractor is busted, it's often in another county -- which might not have a record of prior offenses.
"It's kind of piecemeal, falling short of having directly contact other people that we know that work in other jurisdictions via email or over the phone, it's a hit or miss kind of communication," Cassidy said.
To fix this problem, Cape Coral code enforcement officers and the state are teaming up to create an online database to keep a track record of repeat offenders. The ultimate goal is to protect you: the homeowner.
"So we can share the information, as well as the successes that we share. in the different jurisdictions," Cassidy said. "Most time these folks are simply taking advantage of people, and they are leaving in their trails very unsafe environments for people to live in."
The city of Cape Coral could soon raise the misdemeanor citation amount for unlicensed contacting from $500 to $2,000.
The state has already increased the penalty to $2,000 and has left it up to each jurisdiction to adopt that increase.
A vote is expected within a few months.