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Florida man accused of contractor fraud in hurricane case

Posted at 3:03 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 16:03:52-04

A Florida man is under arrest for alleged contractor fraud.

Larry Fitzgerald, 59, is accused of taking $60,000 from a Hurricane Laura/Delta victim and never fixing her house. Fitzgerald also didn't have a contractor's license in Louisiana when he was hired to do the work; that is required for him to do business here, deputies allege.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives booked Fitzgerald, of Panama City Beach, with two counts residential contractor fraud.

During the investigation the victim told detectives she signed a contract with Fitzgerald in September 2020, at which time she paid him over $60,000 in order for him to repair damages to her home sustained during Hurricanes Laura and Delta. The victim stated Fitzgerald advised her she would be able to move back in her home in January, but the repairs have yet to be completed.

During the investigation detectives also learned Fitzgerald did not have a valid contractor’s license to work in Louisiana until October 2020, which was after he signed a contract with the victim.

Detectives attempted to make contact with Fitzgerald on numerous occasions but were unsuccessful. After further investigation, on March 31 detectives obtained a warrant for Fitzgerald’s arrest. On April 7, Fitzgerald was located and arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center. He was released later the same day on a $50,000 bond.

“We are not going to allow these criminals to take advantage of the citizens in our community,” stated Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso. “We are working together with DA Stephen Dwight and the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office and have recently formed a Contractor Fraud Response Team. If you believe you have been a victim of contractor fraud or are unsure whether an actual crime has been committed call the Contractor Fraud Response Team at 437-3405.”

CPSO Detective John Coffman is the lead investigator on this case.