Florida sheriff arrests Texas roofer for attempting to work on homes damaged by Hurricane Ian

screen_shot_2022-10-10_at_11 (Large)
Duque thought he was in the right by showing up to repair hurricane-damaged roofs.

Florida sheriff deputies have arrested a roofer from Texas who was attempting to repair houses in an area hit hard by Hurricane Ian.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), the owner of Duque Roofing, Terence Duque, was arrested last Friday for contracting without a Florida license, which is a felony crime.

CCSO said that the Charlotte County Economic Crimes Unit received a call from an investigator at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 1:30 p.m. last Friday.

“The investigator informed the CCSO detective that a roofing company, Duque Roofing, was found to be in Charlotte County, conducting business without a Florida license to do so, and that a homeowner had already agreed to a contract with them,” CCSO’s post about the arrest said.

The post also noted that Duque thought he was in the right by showing up to repair hurricane-damaged roofs.

CCSO said that Duque had read the Governor’s State of Emergency order regarding contractors, and that he understood it to mean that contractors from out of state were permitted to work in Florida. But the order only eased rules for contractors within the state, not from out of state.

The sheriff said Duque told officers an employee of his made contact with the Florida Department of Business Regulation (DPBR) and that a representative had given him permission to conduct business in Florida, though he could not provide the name of the representative.

Duque Roofing has been in business in Texas and Louisiana for 13 years and is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. The company has done work in the aftermath of several hurricanes, and its website says that employees provide tarps, food and water for those impacted. The company also has a focus on providing jobs for veterans.

Florida contractor requirements are notoriously strict and costly, more so than in Texas, according to the website Construction Dive. But the requirements are mainly meant to make sure businesses in Florida are up to standard. Meanwhile, Duque Roofing is already known for doing solid work in multiple states.

“The extensive financial and application requirements of licensing systems, like there are in Florida and California, help weed out those financially unprepared to run a construction business,” Construction Dive wrote.

Florida’s requirements may also be to make sure predatory contractors don’t take the money and run, the website says. But with Duque’s extensive record of doing post-disaster repairs, and the several large construction trailers and RV that they brought to Charlotte County as documented by CCSO, there’s no evidence that the company had plans to scam people out of money.

Still, CCSO Sheriff Bill Prummell accused Duque of “victimizing” residents.

“Ignorance is not an excuse,” Prummell wrote. “If you are in Charlotte County, doing business with the people of this community, you had better be on the up-and-up and have the appropriate licensing and insurance. These people have been through enough, and I will not allow unlicensed contractors to further victimize them.”

CCSO’s news release said that Duque was transported to Charlotte County Jail without incident. But in a search of CCSO’s arrest portal, Duque’s name did not appear in the results. DPBR, CCSO and Duque Roofing have not yet responded to requests for comment from Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

Yesterday, DPBR celebrated the arrest of Duque on Twitter, and received a lot of pushback from the public.

“During a State of Emergency, working without proper licensure is a felony. Thanks to #DBPR‘s Division of Regulation’s hard work in impacted areas, @CCSOFLSheriff arrested an unlicensed roofing worker putting Floridians at risk,” DBPR wrote, with a picture of what looks like Duque being arrested by CCSO beneath the text.

Then, the comments started coming in.

“You guys are a disgrace,” one commenter wrote.

“Are you aware that you’re the bad guys?” another wrote.

Nearly 900 comments have poured in as of now, along with almost 400 quote tweets, just about all of them berating CCSO and DPBR for the arrest.

Here are a few of the tweets …

Justin Garcia reporting via Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.

Creative Loafing


19 comments

  • Bill

    October 10, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    Ron Desantus should stop this from happening. Bet this wouldn’t have happened If Ron had of got a political donation! Keeping our Florida under your thumb right Ron!

    • Jerry

      October 10, 2022 at 4:15 pm

      This law exists to protect consumers. If you allow tons of contractors to pour down here without a license, they will gobble up work, do a shoddy job, collect the insurance money and bolt. Then when the repairs fail in a year or so, they will be gone. They won’t make special trips down to Florida to fix their own bad work. Without a Florida license, they also won’t be assured to do the work based on Florida building codes.

      I believe this guy in this case was just trying to help. But there are too many scammers and too many bad contractors that would swarm to a disaster area and try to take advantage of people. The state has to maintain control over this.

      • Lori

        October 10, 2022 at 5:52 pm

        There are plenty of licensed roofers in Florida. Do people who get these out of state companies really think they’ll return if the job done is crappy? Use your resources residents of Florida and give the workers in YOUR home state the work they need.

        • Ocean Joe

          October 11, 2022 at 5:07 am

          If your roof was open to the elements you might not want to wait in line for the next available “Florida” roofing crew.

          We certainly aren’t waiting on only Florida utility workers to restore power.

        • David

          October 11, 2022 at 8:40 pm

          You mean your Neighbor that just lost his roofing business and home, right. By all means call him

      • Jim Roeder

        October 11, 2022 at 1:25 pm

        Your comments are not necessarily accurate or true. Bad faith contractors exist in EVERY state. Sadly, many are licensed. A State License does no ensure proper work, it just provides a measure of recourse, including forcing the bad faith contractors out of business – but not always- and income for the state.
        This particular contractor has a history of traveling to other states, providing tools to those who would otherwise have to wait. In 2016, a severe hail storm caused tens of thousands of property damage claims. There were less than 15 licensed contractors in the area at the time. Someone failing to get a license prior to helping does not necessarily make him/her a criminal. Additionally, he has provided needed food, water and protective tarps to people needing them. Read about him BEFORE making negative comments.

        • David

          October 11, 2022 at 8:46 pm

          You are exactly right, just because you are licensed doesn’t mean a good job, these people need help, they dont give a shit about proper Bureaucracy, but people have no common sense and need help from our gov. To tie there shoes. It’s sad!!!

  • James. OShea

    October 10, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    In 2006 and 2007 after a very severe hurricane , at the time I was licensed in California with the CSLB the CA. State license board and after Katrina destroyed nearly half the roofs and windows (and further damaged roof gutters, etc. I moved to boca raton and Kissimmee and at the time the State of Florida accepted and allowed out of State LICENSED roofing contractors to use there home State license for a period of one year. ( that was an emergency declaration signed by the Governor of Florida. ) and I might addI also am a trained union journeyman roofer local # 40 San Francisco ,CA. It really doesn’t matter what State the Roofers from because replacement roofs requires City , County , or State permits with like 10 phases of inspection by building dept. Officials. So all those people who don’t know what the fuck they are talking about ……..( certain roofing company s have been dishonest by using cheaper materials or not compliance to building codes that has been going on for years ) see how good Florida regulates their’ local roofing Companies and look at all them destroyed roofs….and throw these guys in jail. State Sanctioned Bigots they are ….they’ve the real crooks the Government Agencies of Florida

    • Michelle

      October 14, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      Agreed. And citizens themselves jump at the opportunity to ‘scam’ before a natural disaster, in this case a hurricane, has even ended.

  • Joe Henn

    October 11, 2022 at 7:21 am

    Funny though, once these elderly people start getting ripped off by out of state scam artists, these same people commenting will be outraged that the State isn’t doing their job. Sorry guys, can’t have it both ways, A LAWS A LAW….FOLLOW IT!!

  • Jason

    October 11, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Also,within 72 hours of conviction he will have to register as a convicted felon with the sherrifs department of the Florida county he is in.that ain’t no joke.

  • Joseph Jarvis

    October 11, 2022 at 7:52 am

    It’s just another scam by our politicians to get more money in their pockets let the man do his job and help these people close he came in good faith brought all his equipment and brought a whole crew to help he checked them out he’s rated with the Better Business Bureau and has all the proper equipment and skilled Tradesmen with him let the man out and let him get back to work and let’s get Florida back on their feet never mind try to fill your pockets with our misery

  • Dennis

    October 11, 2022 at 8:07 am

    We have already had homeowners in my neighborhood get taken by scammers. This might be a legit company but that can be sorted out and paperwork can be updated. If he’s a pro, he will understand the concern, even if the authorities were a bit harsh. After-action can make appropriate policy changes.

    • Jack Benimble

      October 12, 2022 at 11:23 pm

      Then don’t get scammed, idiots.
      Do you click on the popup and call the number when “Microsoft has identified your computer as being infected and you will lose your data, please call this Microsoft technical support and for $499 we will fix your issues”
      Seriously, check credentials of any contractor. But business is business. There’s not enough roofers/electricians/contractors in Florida to handle the devastation. There’s also many good people from all over the USA who want to help.
      Why wouldn’t Florida fast track out of state assistance??
      Insurance adjusters from all over can work freely in Florida

    • Michelle

      October 14, 2022 at 12:51 pm

      But it did not require handcuffing the man. It sounds like he did his due diligence. Don’t we know in our daily lives that we can ask a person a question and receive one answer and in the next moment something entirely different from someone else? I have little faith in the veracity of what I am told by anyone, anywhere, as truth and facts have become a matter of expediency and/or a thing of the past.

  • nancy a keyes

    October 11, 2022 at 9:23 am

    So you just let an out of state contractor come in without a license for Florida to do work on your home? Go ahead…hope it all goes well for you an you don’t run into any problems down the road and you can’t find them anymore. This guy in question might be just great in his home state etc, but he is also held to certain standards in his state by being licensed. We want the same here.

  • Susan Stamm

    October 11, 2022 at 10:21 am

    Thank goodness we are being protected from scammers in Florida. It would also be nice if we could be protected from the elements. Now that this poor man has been vetted, give him a license and let him get to work.

  • Misti Grant

    October 11, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Every major hurricane that hits any state creates and opportunity for jobs. Jobs that require homeowners whose roofs might not have been brought up to the increased strengthened requirement created by the previous major hurricane.

    There are literally tons of people and companies with good hearts that want to come help, but if their work doesn’t meet the codes, then residents can’t get insurance clearance for their property (let alone future coverage). Florida’s codes and Laws are enforced during these times to protect residents from future major storms like Michael in 2018 and Ian. Yes, it’s hard during these tragedies, but we live here and should know the risk of the sunshine state. We bear those risks willingly because our borders are literally the Atlantic on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, which means we bear the hardships that come when we’re hit. As neighbors we step up and help one another and most of us rely on God to provide, and He does.

    Thank you Florida for protecting Florida.

  • Mary Wiley

    October 14, 2022 at 4:52 pm

    I think the Sheriff in Charlotte County over reacted. Once he knew the circumstances of this contractor and realized that he was a viable compancy with a good BBB rating, he should not have handcuffed him, but taken him to the station or help him get his temporary Florida business license straightened out State Business Association so he could get his crews to work. This state agency is a useless bureaucracy that is in dire need of be revamped and they should take no pride in what they put this out-of-state legitimate business owner/contractor through. Yes, there are many scammers, but once they knew he wasn’t one another type of attitude of gratitude and helpfulness should have taken place.

Comments are closed.


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