Published: Mar 15, 2012 5:36 PM EDT

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla.- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has arrested 45-year-old Robert Grannan, of Englewood, for taking money for contracting work he never performed.

Grannan, doing business as Florida Complete Air Services, charged an 85-year-old Venice woman $2,684 for a new 2 ½ ton 410a Heat Pump Unit that he never replaced.

Grannan who does not have a valid contractor’s license to perform the work listed on the invoice he provided to his victim, has previously been convicted for Acting in the Capacity of a Contractor without a License.

Grannan is charged with Grand Theft from a Person 65 and Older, Fraud for a second violation of falsely identifying himself as a contractor, and Exploitation of the Elderly, a charge for which there is currently no bond.

To protect yourself when hiring a contractor the Sarasota County Building Department recommends the following steps:

-Get a signed, detailed contract that spells out the work to be done, when and for how much.

-Do not make a large down payment. Wait to make the final payment until the final inspection has been done and work is approved.

-Make the check out to the business, not someone’s personal name.

-Ask to see the contractor’s license and verify its status. (To check on a Sarasota County license call 861-6678.)

If you suspect someone is acting as an unlicensed contractor, contact your county building department or the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.