TAMPA -- Nine people were charged for advertising services without having workers compensation coverage, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud.
The arrests followed a three-day undercover sting ending Friday in Manatee County involving the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Bradenton Police Department, Palmetto Police Department, Longboat Key Police Department, and several others.
"These nine individuals were found to have advertised their ability to perform jobs such as plumbing, electrical, and air conditioning work without proper licenses or training, and without having workers compensation coverage to protect their employees in the event of an accident or injury," a release states.
Those arrested: Margaret Espinal, Ruben Hernandez-Caleron, Juergen Hinz, Martin Joseph Aldridge, Mario Marcello Botton, Michael Robert Hawkins, Victor Honeycutt, Stephen Clay Dennis and Ian A. Oswald.
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Al nine were booked into Manatee County jail on charges of workers compensation fraud and unlicensed contracting. They can face up to five years in prison if convicted.
During the sting, DIF detectives responded to advertisements and called for contractors to perform services in Manatee County, according to the release. The investigation revealed unlicensed and uninsured plumbing and electrical services were allegedly offered by Caleron, Hinz, Hawkins, Honeycutt, Dennis, and Oswald. DIF officials said illegal contracting services limited to plumbing were allegedly offered by Espinal and Aldridge, and services regarding plumbing and AC repair were allegedly offered by Botton.
The cases will be prosecuted by the Office of Manatee County State Attorney Ed Brodsky.