By Kevin Deutsch
A Coconut Creek man posing as a licensed contractor was arrested Friday for swindling condominium owners out of $81,000, court records show.
Carlos Tapia, 60, of 3553 NW 21st Ct.., was charged with grand theft, operating as an unlicensed contractor, and two counts of criminal use of personal identification after he carried out a scheme to victimize the owners of the Fort Lauderdale condo unit, who contracted with Tapia for a full remodeling job, according to an arrest affidavit.
Tapia would have needed permits for the job, which included structural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work. Records show that he could not obtain such permits because he lacked the necessary licenses.
The total price of the job was $98,000, of which the victims paid Tapia all but $17,000, according to police.
The accused thief performed “minimal work” and left the condo unit “uninhabitable,” the affidavit states. He also presented fake permits to the victims to make it appear he had obtained the necessary permits, police said.
Records show that Tapia’s theft scheme began in April 2020 and continued until Fort Lauderdale building officials issued a stop work order for the unlicensed job.
A warrant was issued for Tapia’s arrest in Aug. 2022, leading to Friday’s arrest, the records show.
Records show Tapia was booked into the Broward Main Jail and released on a $15,000 bond.
- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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