Florida brothers accused of scamming hurricane victims in need of roof repairs

Adolf, John Carlson scammed multiple people in different counties, officials say

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Two Jacksonville-based roofing contractors have been arrested, accused of scamming multiple people in different counties, including Volusia County.

Adolf and John Carlson are charged with running an organized scheme to defraud someone of over $100,000 and engaging in an organized scheme to defraud. Both are considered first-degree felonies. 

On Wednesday, State Attorney R.J. Larizza held a press conference to talk about the operation called "Hurricane Hustle."

[RELATED: How to see if a contractor is licensed to make repairsUnlicensed contractor never repaired Irma-damaged roof, officials say]

"There are 43 victims we've identified in Count 1 and in that count, what we identified was folks who had suffered damage. A lot of them over the hurricanes that happened in 2016 and 2017," Larizza said. 

The brothers own Carlson Roofing, which is based in Jacksonville. Their arrests come after a year of investigation. Prosecutors said they never did the work for homeowners who contracted their services after hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

"They were running a successful business, but then they got greedy and they were robbing Peter to pay Paul. They were promising work and not doing it," Larizza said.

Larizza said the brothers stole more than $302,000 from 43 victims in Volusia, Flagler, and St. Johns County. He said there were 15 other victims involved in their scheme.

"Those folks paid, they got the work done, but what happened was the roofing company, Carlson Roofing, did not pay the subcontractors. So liens were placed on those folks homes," Larizza said.        

Officials said the brothers used the money on personal expenses.  

"At least one of its owners used company bank accounts for use of extravagant personal expenses, and that would include airline tickets, accommodations at Disney resorts and even Louis Vuitton," Attorney General Ashley Moody said.

Last year, the Attorney General's Office filed a civil complaint after receiving more than 70 complaints about the business. 

"Carlson Enterprises was previously investigated by our offices, State Consumer Protection division, after we learned they were scamming vulnerable Floridians by taking money from promised roofing repairs and never showing back to do the work," Moody said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. 

"I think this sends a message loud and clear to unscrupulous contractors, that if you're going to prey on our residents, you're going to bring the full weight of law enforcement down upon you." said Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

The Carlson brothers are currently being held at the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville on a $350,000 bond each. Prosecutors said the pair will be extradited to Volusia County to face the charges.

About the Authors: