The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has enhanced its efforts to protect citizens from unlicensed contractors.

Two detectives are working closely with Sarasota County Code Enforcement and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). The detectives investigate claims against people who engage in contracting work without proper licenses, permits or certification. A first offense usually results in a civil citation by code enforcement but subsequent violations lead to misdemeanor or felony criminal charges.

In the first six months of this program, some 20 individuals were criminally charged and another 23 people received citations.

“Legitimate Sarasota County businesses are being undercut by unlicensed contractors, but that is not the only reason people need to make sure they hire licensed professionals,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “Using a licensed contractor protects consumers financially, shields them from potential litigation, and ensures their safety because shoddy work can only be detected during the inspection process.”

To check a Sarasota County license call Code Enforcement at 861-6126, and to report someone you suspect is acting as an unlicensed contractor or performing work without a permit call Sarasota County at 861-5000. For more information visit the web page for Planning & Development Services.