PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side Investigates is following new developments in one of the biggest roofing scams in the Tampa Bay area.
A second convicted con artist is back behind bars after a long-term 8 On Your Side investigation. According to online records, Frank Pureber is currently in custody for violating the conditions of his probation. He joins associate Carlton Dunko. Dunko was also picked up for violating the conditions of his probation earlier this week.
These arrests are a direct result of an ongoing 8 On Your Side investigation. We’ve been tracking this case for years.
In 2016, our reports helped to send Dunko and Pureber to prison for a notorious roofing scheme. Prosecutors say there were nearly 100 victims across six counties in the Tampa Bay area.
In a scheme cooked up by Dunko, the company NBRC Construction collected insurance money for storm damage and either failed to replace roofs or failed to pay contractors.
In 2016, the men pled guilty to fraud. Along with prison, they were placed on probation.
As 8 On Your Side exposed, the duo later violated the conditions of their probation.
“They were selling people products that these people didn’t need, didn’t want,” said Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano.
The duo was operating under the umbrella of a government sanctioned home improvement program called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE.
PACE enables homeowners with poor credit to obtain home improvement loans and pay it back through a special assessment on their property tax bill.
“Many people in the legislature, good people, haven’t a clue what the PACE loan program is all about,” said Fasano.
Fasano has been working to warn homeowners about the potential dangers of PACE for years.
He says some consumers end up with bulging tax bills that they can’t afford, which put them in danger of losing their homes.
“You’re going to see a lot of people losing their homes probably in the next three, four, five years,” said Fasano.
It’s a scary prediction but one that can be avoided with state action, according to Fasano.
“The PACE providers should have a better background check policy,” he said.
Fasano says no one in the state of Florida regulates PACE and that’s why his office got involved with this issue.
“We had so many people contacting us with complaints.”
In addition to regulation, Fasano says other simple changes could also ensure the program doesn’t hurt the people it’s meant to help.
“If the county or the state will change one simple policy,” he said, “that is that a loan can only be given out to someone who can afford to pay it back.”
Fasano is asking the Governor and state lawmakers to take action.
8 On Your Side will continue to follow this story.