HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — More than two dozen unlicensed contractors have been arrested after sheriff's office sting in eastern Hillsborough County. 

The 10-day undercover operation was conducted in Sun City Center, an area where many elderly residents often fall victim to cons and scams, including construction fraud. 

What You Need To Know

  • Unlicensed contractor sting nets 27 arrests 

  • Officials said suspects were operating in east Hillsborough County

  • The arrests including a sex offender

Among the 27 people arrested was a high-risk sexual offender on felony probation and a man who showed up to work with cocaine in his possession, according to the sheriff's office. 

The men arrested are facing charges of unlawful acts while in the capacity of a contractor.

Authorities said undercover deputies posing as homeowners met with unlicensed contractors from late September until early October. Deputies said the contractors had placed online advertisements for home improvement services. 

The unlicensed contractors offered to replace or remodel bathrooms, doors, windows, and in a few cases, said they could pour concrete pads and sidewalks around the property. Quotes for these projects ranged anywhere from $320 up to $13,000. 

Deputies said one unlicensed contractor, Keith Andrew Hall, 49, was a sex offender. 

Authorities said he offered to remodel a walk-in shower for $1,600. Deputies discovered he was currently on GPS-monitored felony probation, after being convicted of molestation on a victim under 15 and promoting the sexual performance of a child. 

"When you hire a contractor, you expect professionalism and complete accountability," said Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister. "By hiring someone who does not have the proper credentials, you don't know who you're allowing into your home or the damage they could potentially cause to your property.

"During the ongoing pandemic, many people are in the house more often and looking for ways to fix up their homes. We urge homeowners to do their research before committing to an expensive service that requires professional training and experience."