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KEY WEST, January 21, 2020 – A man who illegally represented himself as a licensed contractor and took $7,000 from a Key West man for home repairs that weren’t performed has pleaded out and been ordered to pay full restitution to the victim.
Michael DeWitt, 51, pleaded no contest January 8 to grand theft and contracting without a license and, in addition to having to pay the restitution, was placed on probation for 24 months by Monroe County Judge Mark Wilson. Assistant State Attorney Christina Cory represented the state. DeWitt has no prior criminal history in Monroe County.
DeWitt was arrested on September 7, 2018, after an investigation by State Attorney’s Office Investigator Frank Zamora. The victim, who lives on Flagler Avenue, had contacted the State Attorney’s Office after DeWitt repeatedly ignored messages from the victim about the status of the work.
The victim, who hired DeWitt based on a recommendation from a friend, signed a contract on December 13, 2017, for DeWitt to fix his roof for $14,200; the victim cut a check to DeWitt for $7,000 as a deposit and DeWitt cashed it the next day. The contract was on letterhead from a construction company from which DeWitt was fired that October. The company owner told Zamora that DeWitt did not have permission to use his company’s contract since he was no longer an employee.
DeWitt did remove the roof soffit in early January 2018 but never returned to do anything else. Through April, May, June and July of 2018, DeWitt ignored numerous messages from the victim except for twice, once saying he was in a meeting and the other saying he was en route to Jacksonville.
Zamora later confirmed DeWitt is not licensed as a contractor with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and in fact has never been a licensed contractor in Florida.
To protect yourself, before hiring someone for contracting work, ensure he or she is licensed by the DBPR. You can do so at https://www.myfloridalicense.com .