A Jacksonville man has been arrested after allegedly forging customer signatures in construction documents and stealing more than $40,000 from customers.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced Tuesday that Wyatt Green, owner of Storm Restoration Specialists LLC, was charged with stealing more than $40,000 from people who assigned their insurance benefits to him through Assignment of Benefits contracts.
Wyatt Green is out of jail after being arrested last week.
Green and his staff allegedly forged customer signatures on construction documents and insurance claim payment checks that required signatures from both the homeowner and mortgage lender.
CFO Patronis’ detectives discovered that Green was hired by four homeowners to perform contracting work. Allegedly, Green directed his staff to forge homeowners’ signatures on the checks as well as added the mortgage lenders' endorsement before depositing the checks into his bank account.
One of the projects included work to restore a home damaged by Hurricane Irma.
Kristen Wright hired Green's company to fix her master bathroom, roof and front deck that was damaged by Irma.
Wright says the work stopped shortly after a dispute over how much money was left to finish the repairs.
"His project manager came to me and said, 'We needed to sit down and go over the budget, and split everything equally as to who was paying for which repairs.' I was like, after 53,000 you got from the insurance, you've only done a roof and some demo, how are we running out of money?" Wright told First Coast News.
"We told them to give us a breakdown of the cost so we can see what you have paid for and what you've spent before I give you another dime of my money and they could never do that," Wright said.
Wright paid nearly $53,000 of her insurance benefits to Green for unfinished work.
The state says Wright is one of four customers that Green ripped off.
Green says he is working to fix his mistakes.
"I fully take responsibility for what I've done wrong. I fully intend, as I have made strides in making it right with some of the homeowners affected by this and I'm going to make it right," Green told First Coast News.
Wright takes comfort knowing Green's business is flagged by the Better Business Bureau.
Wright simply wants her home to be repaired and to be refunded by Green.
"It's comforting to know after this he won't do this again, he's not going to be able to open up a new company, hopefully, people are going to know who he is, whether he spends time in jail or not. Hopefully, they'll know the name and know not to do business with him," Wright said.
Employees of Green also admitted to allegedly forging customer signatures on construction documents required by counties and municipalities. In some cases, construction work was never completed, and in others, the work never even began.
Green was booked into the Duval County Jail on April 12, on charges of Organized Scheme to Defraud, Grand Theft and Forgery. If convicted, Green faces up to 35 years in prison.
“This case is another example of a bad contractor scamming Floridians and pocketing the money without actually making repairs.," says CFO Jimmy Patronis.
"AOBs were once used to protect Floridians but recently, assigning your benefits over to a contractor has become an abusive practice."