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CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest of Clearwater Roofer for Nearly $50,000 in Theft and Insurance Fraud

12/28/2018

For Immediate Release: December 28, 2018
Contact: Devin Galetta, 850.413.2842, devin.galetta@myfloridacfo.com

CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest of Clearwater Roofer for Nearly $50,000 in Theft and Insurance Fraud

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Terry Wayne LaCoste, owner of Terry W. LaCoste Weathertight Systems, Inc. and David E. Gilliland, Inc., after allegedly attempting to defraud multiple homeowners out of more than $49,000 and working without workers’ compensation insurance.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “It is shameful for crooked contractors to take advantage of Floridians while you are simply trying to protect your biggest investment, your home. Fraud like this also steals work from honest businesses and drives up insurance rates for everyone. Remember to always verify before you buy and ensure that the contractor you’re hiring is reputable and has the proper insurance coverage before allowing them to start work on your property.”
 
CFO Patronis’ Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fraud received a tip from the Pinellas County Consumer Protection, Clearwater Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office regarding complaints against LaCoste. Investigations revealed that LaCoste victimized a total of six homeowners by making them pay deposits up-front for roofing work. LaCoste either never started on the job or never finished the contracted work. In total, the victims had a financial loss of $49,447 combined. The investigation also revealed that LaCoste was working without the proper workers' compensation insurance coverage.
 
LaCoste was arrested on December 18 and transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident. He faces charges of organized scheme to defraud, theft/misappropriation of construction funds, and working without workers' compensation insurance coverage. If convicted on all charges, LaCoste faces up to 15 years in prison.
 
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a native Floridian and a member of Florida’s Cabinet, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).