86-year-old ripped off $3K by unlicensed contractor after Hurricane Irma, police say

Palm Bay man hired worker to replace damaged fence

PALM BAY, Fla. – An 86-year-old Brevard County man said he was ripped off by a handyman he paid thousands of dollars to rebuild a fence around his yard that was knocked down during Hurricane Irma.

Palm Bay police said Paul Morissette was working without a license after Hurricane Irma and  the contractor was paid $3,000 to repair the victim's fence. 

"I made a foolish mistake and I gave him too much," said the victim, who asked not to be identified.

The man said he was referred to Morissette, who offered to replace the victim's fence. The 56-year-old worker started building a new fence. He installed the posts, but after a couple weeks, he stopped coming by.

"I didn't see him anymore. He quit," the victim said.

When the 86-year-old found Morissette at his Palm Bay home to ask him about the repairs, he was told the fence would be finished.

"He said his mother was sick and that's why he wasn't around," the victim told News 6. "'Tomorrow morning,' he said, 'I will be at your house.' I said, 'you're really going to be there?' He said, 'I'm really going to be there.' He never showed up. I've never seen him since that day."

The next time the victim saw Morissette was when his mugshot was posted Thursday night after his arrest.

Morissette posted his $2,000 bond at the Brevard County Jail on Friday afternoon.

The 86-year-old is now doing the job himself. He told News 6 he wouldn't let Morissette finish his work, even if the suspect wanted to make amends.

"No, I don't want him back," he said. "He lies like crazy."

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.