Carlton DeWayne Dunko's six bedroom, five bath home at 4415 W. El Prado Blvd in South Tampa's Virginia Park neighborhood.
TAMPA, FL -
Carlton DeWayne Dunko appears to live the good life.
He resides with his family in a six bedroom, five bath home at 4415 W. El Prado Blvd in South Tampa's Virginia Park neighborhood. The two story house that he rents for $3000 a month is valued at well over half a million dollars.
That's hardly the lifestyle you might expect considering Dunko is in the middle of two bankruptcies stemming from a failed roofing business in Georgia and claims he doesn't earn a dime at the roofing business he now runs in Florida. And his financial troubles don't end there.
A judge in Arkansas says Dunko owes $1.5 million in that state for a civil fraud scheme that left homeowners in despair while Dunko paid himself a salary of up to $10,000 a week.
A growing number of upset clients at Dunko's current business venture, NBRC Construction LLC, would like to know how he makes ends meet these days, and so would criminal fraud investigators with the Florida Dept.of Financial Services.
Several years ago Dunko ran a company called American Shingle that generated in excess of $65 million in two years in 11 states.
American Shingle's salesmen would call homeowners or solicit them door to door with a sales pitch that basically offered them new roofs paid through the proceeds from storm damage insurance claims.
But when American Shingle couldn't pay its debts, the company suffered an epic collapse in 2010 that landed Dunko and two of his business partners in a Georgia jail on theft charges. The men were released on bond.
Two and a half years later Georgia prosecutors are still considering whether to file formal charges in the American Shingle case, while Florida fraud investigators are trying to get to the bottom of Dunko's latest business venture called NBRC Construction.
"We're here to protect the citizens of Florida and that's what we're going to try and do," said Capt. Michael Byrne of Florida's Department of Financial Services.
Court records show Dunko tried to hide his involvement in NBRC.
Last November, Dunko told attorneys involved in his ongoing American Shingle bankruptcy case that his wife created a different company to list in NBRC's corporate papers. That way the name "Dunko" wouldn't appear.
"It was a shield," Dunko told bankruptcy lawyers in his sworn deposition last November.
"People that see my name don't understand what they read on line is not fact and it would hurt anything I ever did."
Dunko said he works as an unpaid for consultant for NBRC and on paper his wife is the breadwinner.
Back in November Dunko said his wife was making $8000-$10,000 a month from NBRC, even though former associates say Dunko and another business partner actually called the shots.
In a home video of NBRC"s company Christmas gathering last December recorded by one of his employees, Dunko declared, "I sign paychecks."
Dunko told the lawyers that Google searches would have undermined his new business venture if his name ever surfaced, so he hid his affiliation.
"When NBRC Construction was formed we couldn't have the name Dunko on Sunbiz" [Florida's corporate registry], Dunko said.
The Florida Department of Financial Services is now investigating more than 100 complaints regarding the business practices of NBRC.
"I do know there are 4-5 million dollars of suspicious claims out there from insurance companies," said Byrne who runs the regional fraud division for the Department of Financial Services.
"We're going to evaluate this for criminal charges and present it to either the statewide prosecutor or local state attorney offices."
In dozens of cases involving NBRC storm claims, Florida homeowners who received new roofs funded by insurance pay outs have been stuck with liens from unpaid contractors hired by NBRC.
In a number of other cases, insurance companies paid money to NBRC but there haven't been any roof repairs.
"These people took the proceeds and diverted it and didn't do the work that they promised they would," said Byrne.
That pattern of taking money without performing repairs, and not paying contractors and suppliers for some work that was completed, is the same thing that landed Dunko in trouble back when he ran American Shingle in 2008-2010.
In bankruptcy records Dunko blamed insurance companies for ruining the cash flow of American Shingle by refusing to pay claims and also faulted the foundering economy.
Now that NBRC is spiraling into the same sort of financial mess suffered by American Shingle, Dunko isn't saying anything.
"No comment" was his only reply when Eight On Your Side tried to interview Dunko recently outside of his attorney's office.
Byrne hopes Dunko will be more talkative with his state fraud investigators about the insurance proceeds that were supposed to fund new roofs for a growing number of upset homeowners in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
"Where did all this money go," Byrne said. "It has to be somewhere and we've got to find it."