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Πέμπτη, 30 Νοεμβρίου, 2023

Police seek contractor who took $118,000 from Hurricane Ian victims and did no work

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A contractor who allegedly scammed victims of Hurricane Ian has had a warrant issued for his arrest.

Justin Hoover, 45, is accused of taking money, to the tune of $118,000, from Florida homeowners for aluminum work which was never carried out.

The powerful Category 5 hurricane hit the west coast of the state in September 2022 killing more than 100 people and leaving billions of dollars of damage in its wake.

Following the disaster, at least 30 people were contacted by Mr Hoover offering services to help rebuild their damaged properties.

Jackie Drewing, of Sarasota, told ABC Action News that she paid Mr Hoover more than $5,000 after the hurricane destroyed her carport and lanai.

She described Mr Hoover as “polite” and “respectful” when she first met him.

Kelly Canegalie, who also hired Mr Hoover, told the outlet that she felt Mr Hoover was trustworthy when she first met him.

“It is just wrong that there are people that do this,” Ms Canegalie said. “They prey on other people.”

Hillsborough County resident and teacher Becky Starnes said that she hired Mr Hoover to repair her carport and screen rooms soon after Hurricane Ian.

But after paying him $6,000 via Cash App, she never saw him again.

People clean up debris in Fort Myers Beach last month after Hurricane Ian

(AFP via )

Ms Starnes said that he began making excuses asking for more time to obtain materials. Eventually, she hired a different contractor.

ABC Actions News found that Mr Hoover had previously pled guilty to grand theft in 2021 while contracting without a license in Hillsborough County.

The Sarasota Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for Mr Hoover on larceny charges following more than 30 complaints.

Mr Hoover’s whereabouts are unknown and he has disappeared from his last known address.

He could face charges of scheme to defraud, a sentencing that carries a maximum of 30 years in prison in Florida.



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