HCSO deputies arrest unlicensed contractor, 'swindled' thousands from unsuspecting homeowners

Unlicensed contractor paid $28K for various jobs
Posted at 6:52 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 01:43:41-04

A 67-year-old Hillsborough county woman gave an unlicensed contractor thousands of dollars and was left with a huge mess in her yard to show for it. 

"He wrecked my house," said Louise Meli, of Sun City Center. 

The Meli's were left with an underground tunnel - massive holes dug out on both sides of their house. 

Discounted handy work police say is all thanks to Christopher Gayson. 

"Very upset because now I have these two big holes and I don't know what to do about them," said Meli. 

Meli suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and is legally blind. 

She believes Gayson took advantage of her and her husband. 

They paid him $3,000 up front for a complex plumbing repair. 

A county inspector told them it wasn't up to code and halted the project. 

"This homeowner is out of luck with a plumbing problem that's still needed to be resolved," said Det. Mike Hennessy with Florida Department of Financial Services. 

Det. Hennessy says Gayson collected nearly $30,000 from unsuspecting homeowners in the Sun City Center neighborhood. 

One woman paid him approximately $21,000 or electrical, plumbing, and home remodeling work. 

The Dept. of Financial Services worked alongside the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for months investigating Gayson. 

"He was unlicensed, unregistered, and not properly worker's comp compliant," said Det. Hennessy. 

Important checkmarks for consumers that Louise Meli says Gayson lied about. 

She says he provided them a phony contractor's license and ripped them off. 

"Contractors should be putting their work in writing and backing it up with some type of warranty or guarantee and check references," said Hennessy.  "You should do a little bit of homework before you let someone do work at your place."

Consumers looking for legitimately licensed contractors, check here: