PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Deputies arrested a man they said was claiming to be a legitimate contractor.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Eugene McDonald was arrested Friday. He faces a number of charges including grand theft and unlicensed specialty contracting.
“He signed a contract with both parities to do some countertop work at their homes and he never completed the work, and he failed to return any of the money and was not answering phone calls at some point,” Sgt. Spencer Gross said.
Sgt. Gross said they know of two victims, but they suspect there are more victims because the crimes happened within two years.
“It’s very unlikely that in the last couple of years these are the only two victims that Mr. McDonald has scammed,” Sgt. Gross said.
Sgt. Gross said people need to do their research; McDonald was not licensed. Deputies said people need to ask for references, do not give money up front, and call the Pinellas County Consumer Protection Department. They will research the person for you and tell you whether they are licensed and insured.
“I’m just embarrassed that I didn’t look into it further,” Mary Park said.
Park paid McDonald more than $8,000 to install kitchen and bathroom counters. She said she never got them. She said months passed by and he never started any work inside her home.
“It is a lot of money and then for him to just take off with it, God knows who else he’s ripping off and that’s why I just thought I gotta….I gotta do something,” Park said.
Park reported the crime to authorities. She wishes she would have done more research and hopes someone else will learn from what happened to her.
“I have really mixed emotions about it. It really isn’t the money. He does prey on innocent people. That’s a menace to society,” Park said.
Deputies said if you did business with McDonald and believe you were a victim too, call them immediately.