SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) — Hernando County deputies arrested two people working as contractors without a license, according to a release.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said detectives learned that Zachary Hartford and his wife Corey Lutgen, owners of C&Z Home Services, had been hired by a Spring Hill woman to work on her home on Jan. 2. In total, the couple was paid over $25,000 to do the job.
On April 10, the work had not been done, and the resident reported Hartford and Lutgen after learning neither of them were licensed contractors, deputies said.
“When the victim confronted Hartford about not being licensed, Hartford told her he ‘was unable to pass the test’ to get licensed,” the sheriff’s office said. “However, on the invoice Hartford provided, an EIN number was listed. When detectives checked the EIN number through Sunbiz.com, the number did not exist.”
Detectives said they learned of a second victim on April 28, who told them Hartford was supposed to do electrical and plumbing work.
According to the sheriff’s office, Hartford didn’t have a contract with the resident but gave an invoice describing the work he was supposed to do before collecting a $1,500 deposit.
“Over the course of several days, Hartford returned to the residence to do the work,” the release said. “On the final day, Hartford returned one last time to ‘finish the work’ and collect the final payment. Hartford was paid in cash that day, and after spending two hours at the residence, he left without finishing the work.”
Deputies said after that, Hartford blocked the customers, keeping them from communicating with him.
Those customers also believed Hartford was a licensed contractor because he showed them several licenses, but they did not inspect them to make sure they were legitimate, the sheriff’s office.
As if two investigations weren’t enough, deputies eventually opened a third investigation on Sept. 5 after learning of another complaint from a customer who hired Hartford to install a garage air conditioner on July 20.
“The victim contacted Hartford numerous times to inquire about the installation; however, Hartford provided various excuses why he could not get there,” detectives said. “The air conditioner was never installed.”
Both Hartford and Lutgen were arrested on multiple charges of engage in contracting business without a license. Hartford was also charged with Fraud.
Detectives are looking for any other victims in this case. If you have information, call Detective Jason Tippin at 352-754-6830.