On Thursday, June 22, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested six subjects during an undercover sting targeting unlicensed contractors.

CCSO worked jointly with personnel from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR) during the one day sting to highlight the need for the public to use due care when hiring contractors.

“Informed consumers are our greatest weapon against unlicensed contractors,” said Interim Secretary Matilde Miller of the FDBPR. “We hope this story inspires Florida consumers to educate themselves on the risk they assume when hiring an unlicensed professional.”

The six suspects, one Fort White man and five from outside our county, were all given court dates where they will answer to the misdemeanor charges of practicing contracting without a valid certificate or license and to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor or advertise himself or herself or a business organization as available to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor without being duly registered or certified. .

Charged were John Howard III, 36 of Middleburg, Joseph Rossi, 36 of Waldo, William Dold III, 48 of High Springs, Tricia Dold, 48 of High Springs, Jody Akins, 55 of Wellborn, and Gary Cleveland, 57 of Fort White.

Sheriff Mark Hunter stated “Although not the typical investigations our Detectives conduct; I’m happy to work with our state partners to prevent our citizens from becoming victims of any crime.”