TALLAHASSEE, FL - June 3, 2020 - According to an online news report published on SWFlorida and a statement from Attorney General Ashley Moody's Office, arrested a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning repairman and charged the man with numerous counts of fraud. The Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division completed an investigation leading to the arrest of HVAC repairman. The repairman plus nine of the man's former employees are being accused of using fear and high-pressure sales techniques to convince customers to buy services and products that were not needed. According to the report, most of the victims targeted by the suspects were seniors, many of whom are living on fixed incomes. The repairman's plan involved defrauding homeowners into purchasing HVAC products and servicing. In addition, the repairman defrauding consumers by submitting fake purchaser loan applications. The investigations allege the repairman and his former employees purportedly duped customers into signing contracts. The report also alleges that their sales representatives engaged in forging customers' signatures.
Attorney General Ashley Moody stated that his office has begun taking both criminal and civil action against the suspects and bring them to justice for committing the alleged scams. The Attorney General stated that he intends to use the justice system to make the victims whole.
The Attorney General Moody's Office of Statewide Prosecution, and Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, and the Cape Coral Police Department made the arrests following two separate investigations conducted by the agencies. Attorney General Moody's Consumer Protection Division office received over 240 complaints. Of those complaints, about 135 of the complaints we made by senior citizens. The complaints allege the repairman and some of his employees willfully deceived consumers about the real price of the new HVAC units that were installed. In some complaints, the customers allege the suspects installed air conditioning units that differed from the units bought by the consumers. In numerous complaints, consumers claimed that the company, its owner, and the company's representatives duped them into contracting or setting up financial plans on electronic devices but were told the information they were signing on the electronic devices were either pre-loan qualifying documents or proposal estimates. In addition to these allegations, several consumers who secured financing arrangements through the HVAC company stated the business misled them with deceptive pricing tactics and deceived them with the terms of the financing, and, some allege the company installed HVAC units prior to the financing being approved. Also, the HVAC company is being accused of allegedly submitting the potential customers' financing applications without first obtaining authorization by forging their signatures, or by copying their signatures from other documents and pasting those signatures onto finance applications. It is also alleged that when the company received these complaints, the HVAC company purportedly filed liens against some of the consumers' property, and the company began foreclosure proceedings.
The Attorney General's complaint also alleges the company initiated work without having the proper permits. There are many other allegations of illegal activities alleged by consumers in the Attorney General's complaint. The company owner and several former employees have been charged with one count of scheme to defraud. The criminal charge of "Scheme to Defraud" is a felony in the first-degree. The other charges include filing fraudulent papers in court to deprive someone of real property, fraudulent use of a notary, communication fraud, and fraudulent use of personal identification information. All of the charges, as mentioned earlier, are felony offenses in the State of Florida.