PORT CHARLOTTE — Charlotte County Sheriff’s detectives of the Economic Crimes Unit, working with two state and one county agency, arrested nine men Wednesday and Thursday on charges of contracting without a license. The sting operation was set up at a home in Port Charlotte during Operation Fix-It-Up 2013. CCSO’s Economic Crimes, Major Crimes, Narcotics, and Street Crimes units worked with the Florida Department of Business Regulation, Florida Department of Financial Services Fraud Division, and the Charlotte County Building and Construction Services. CCSO ECU detectives said: “Over the years, Charlotte County has received complaints of unlicensed contractors and contractors performing work outside the scope of their issued license causing inferior workmanship. This type of work leads to inferior workmanship and causes the homeowner/customer to contract a new licensed contractor to repair the inferior work, therefore costing them additional money. This also places the homeowner at risk to lawsuits if the unlicensed contractor gets hurt due to not being covered under Worker’s Compensation. The purpose of this joint operation was to identify and take appropriate enforcement action against unlicensed contractors conducting business in Charlotte County.”
CCSO arrested and transported the following to the Charlotte County Jail: Rodney Lane McGee, 43, of the 20400 block of Sapling Avenue, Port Charlotte, and Benjamin Ayers, 66, of the 1500 block of Eagle Street, Port Charlotte. Arrested and given notices to appear in court: Dustin Rhoades Harvick, 30, of the 1500 block of Achilles Street, Port Charlotte; James Leon Berry, 66, of the 5200 block of Greenwood Avenue, North Port; Frank B. Smith, 59, of the 2600 block of Lakeshore Circle, Port Charlotte; Robert J. O’Laughlin, 51, of the 1800 block of Knights Bridge Terrace, Port Charlotte; Ronald D. Petersen, 56, of Limerick, Maine; Roger Fernandez, 66, of the 500 block of Meridan Avenue, Port Charlotte; and Thomas Pennella, 65, of the 1000 block of Sea Crest Drive, Port Charlotte.
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