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Roofing contractor accused of defrauding homeowners and insurance out of almost $1 million

Investigators say he never finished the work
Posted: 6:49 PM, Oct 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-24 19:39:13-04

The focus of an I-team investigation is now facing felony charges. The story exposed Hightower Restoration and its manager Duane Michael Cottier in May after dozens of homeowners complained about jobs that were paid for but never finished.

State insurance fraud investigators tell us they'd been tracking Cottier for the past week and finally caught up with him in Polk county over the weekend.
 
According to the arrest summary, Cottier ripped off approximately 90 Citrus County homeowners to the tune of approximately $950 thousand dollars.

The company went door-to-door pitching free roofs in Citrus County after a hail storm hit in 2014.

We found 15 customers who said the company told them insurance would pay for everything. All they had to do was sign an assignment of benefits page.

AOB’s allow the contractor to step into the shoes of the insured, file the claim and collect the money. 

Investigators say Hightower received millions of dollars in  insurance payouts. 

According to the arrest report, the company collected $950,000 on about 90 claims in Citrus County alone but never actually replaced the roofs. 

The state estimates another 37 homeowners now face liens on their homes because Hightower Restoration failed to pay for materials and labor on work that was done.