100+ unlicensed contractors arrested following Hillsborough Co. investigation

Crime

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced the completion of an investigation into unlicensed contracting Tuesday morning which led to the arrest of more than 100 people.

“The Tampa Bay housing market is booming right now,” the sheriff said. “But that also means fraudsters are looking to exploit homeowners.”

Steven Velletri is among the dozens of contractors arrested. A search of the FDLE sex offender registry shows that Velletri was convicted of rape in New York State in 1998.

During the bust, deputies say Velletri tried to do work on a person’s home, only to learn it was a set-up by detectives.

“Just imagine for a moment, this person who was convicted of rape, coming into your home where your loved ones are,” Chronister said.

Undercover detectives claiming to be homeowners in need of repair work throughout the county caught more than 100 unlicensed contractors in an investigation nicknamed “Operation House Hunters.” They used five homes in the bust.

“They want your hard-earned money and they don’t care if you are left with poor quality work that could put you and your loved ones at risk,” Chronister said.

The sheriff’s office provided a video that shows three people being arrested.

One of those in the video is Troy Massey. He advertised his services on Craigslist, investigators say, and told detectives he could install lighting and paint the inside of the home for $1,110.

“Detectives learned that Massey’s state-certified contractor’s license was revoked in 2011 after he was disciplined two years prior for abandoning a project in Hillsborough County and failing to take care of the requirements imposed on him during the disciplinary hearing,” the sheriff’s office said about Massey.

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