TAMPA, Fla. — Almost two dozen men are accused of massive construction fraud, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

  • 16 arrested, 6 more facing charges
  • 9-day sting targeted unlicensed contractors
  • Detectives given $117,000 in fake estimates
  • Spectrum Bay News 9's Dave Jordan has more in evening newscasts

They were arrested last week as part of an undercover sting. Now, authorities are warning the public about protecting themselves against unlicensed contractors.

The nine-day undercover sting was designed to catch unlicensed contractors that authorities say were targeting senior citizens in the area.



Detectives posed as homeowners and responded to advertisements placed by the unlicensed contractors.

The contractors gave the detectives $117,000 in fake estimates, the Sheriff's Office said.

"They'll either take your money and disappear, take your money and do some of the work or take your money and you will be left with shoddy work all left, putting your family at risk," Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

Sixteen people were arrested, and six more are facing charges related to the sting.