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Construction and Contractor task force created for Charlotte County

Just days after two construction company owners were arrested for a scheme to defraud and misappropriated funds in Charlotte County, a new program has been created.  Now, with the help of the State Attorney’s Office, they will be creating a construction and contractor fraud task force to crack down on these crimes.

Fred Marcussen now lives in his dream home now in South Gulf Cove. But it took trials and tribulations to get to this point.

“We were forced to live in a lot of Airbnb’s and VRBO’s,” said Marcussen.

Fred says his homebuilder left him without prepaid hurricane shutters, fencing and didn’t finish his pool. This left him out an extra $60,000.

“They said sorry, we can’t complete the contract, we’re out of money and you are basically on your own,” he said.

Florida State Attorney Amira Fox says this is devastating to people’s finances. “This ruins people lives. and so our goal is to make sure that we put a stop to that type of behavior,” said Fox, of the 20th Judicial Circuit.

She doesn’t want another Floridian to be scammed out of their hard-earned money. So she, and others in the office created a Contractor and Construction Fraud Task Force.

Members of the task force will work on strengthening laws and help build cases covering Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Lee and Hendry Counties.

“Just share information on different frauds that are out there.. different things that people are investigating so nobody is going to do the same thing when it’s already been done,” she said.

Fox did say it’s up to you to take the first step. So, if you believe that you’ve been targeted as a victim of fraud, contact law enforcement.

“The homeowner has to be on top of their game and understand what they are responsible for and where to go when they see something wrong,” Marcussen said.

The phrase ‘see something, say something’ really applies to construction fraud. So make sure to get the help you believe you need.

There is a free workshop being offered Next Thursday, October 15, to avoid contractor fraud. It begins at 9 a.m. at the Charlotte County Administration Building. You can also watch the meeting on Charlotte County’s Facebook Page and Website.

The Contractor and Construction Task Force, meet for the first time on Wednesday but that meeting is closed to the public.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Drew Hill
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