HOLLY HILL, Fla. – An unlicensed contractor with a history of lawsuits and convictions related to a home repair business has been arrested again on suspicious of taking a couple's cash deposit.
Michael Martire, 52, has been convicted multiple times for grand theft and operating without a license, according to court records, but a Volusia County couple had no idea when they hired him for a renovation project that never got off the ground.
When Greg Weaver and Susan Peluso decided to enclose their back porch and add a room to their home, they interviewed numerous contractors first but decided to go with Martire.
"He really walked the walk and talked the talk," Weaver said.
In January of last year, the couple hired Martire, with C + M Home Repair.
They signed a proposal outlining the scope of the work and the price $3000 with $1352 paid in cash upfront for materials.
Work was to start immediately according to Peluso, but when two weeks passed and nothing had been done, they thought they had been duped.
"I was so upset, because it was just a financial hardship for us," Peluso said.
The couple filed a report with the Holly Hill Police Department, and Martire was eventually arrested.
News 6 found C & M Home Repair has no business license with the state, and Martire is not a licensed contractor, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
His criminal history goes back to 2002, according to court records. The first time the state attorney brought criminal charges against him for operating as a contractor without a license.
He was ordered to pay a fine.
In 2003, a couple sued him for breach of contract after they paid him more than $40,000, for a renovation he never completed. In that case, he was ordered to pay restitution.
Since then, News 6 has found that over the years Martire has been sued multiple times, and faced criminal charges on several occasions, for writing worthless checks, grand theft and operating without a license, records show.
"They need to do something with him," Weaver said. "He can't keep being allowed to do this to everybody, it's just ridiculous."
When Martire was arrested in Weaver's case in 2018, News 6 found he was already on probation after being convicted in two other cases in 2017.
Court records show a judge found him guilty of grand theft in Flagler County after taking a deposit for an air-conditioning repair he never made.
He was also found guilty of grand theft in Volusia County for taking a deposit to build a fence he never started, according to the charging affidavit.
"This gentlemen keeps getting away with it," Weaver said. "He'll be out on bail and he'll be trying to get more work from other victims."
Since Martire is currently out on bond, victims fear it could be happening again.
"He's not gonna stop unless he gets put away in jail," Peluso said.
Weaver and Peluso said Martire told them he is a licensed contractor. If you want to verify that someone is licensed, you can check by going to the Florida Department of Professional Regulation website.
News 6 tried to contact Martire using several phone numbers and his listed address but could not locate him.