Off-duty Polk sergeant catches suspected driveway sealing scam artists in the act

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – An off-duty deputy caught a pair of suspected paving scammers red-handed.

On Wednesday, June 28, Polk County Sgt. Chris Katsoulis was driving through Winter Haven when he spotted what appeared to be two men performing possible illegal driveway sealing at a home on Cypress Gardens Boulevard.

In the past, PCSO had arrested suspects for approaching homeowners unsolicited and offering to pour asphalt and/or sealant onto their driveways in exchange for cash.

“Once the work is done, the suspects leave, and the shoddy work is discovered soon after,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Investigators confirmed the father and son from Davenport were performing unsolicited work without a license or proof of workman’s comp insurance.

(Source: Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

“Our deputies are never truly ‘off-duty’ — they remain vigilant and always alert. Given the proclivity for suspects to prey on homeowners, whether through a distraction burglary or a paving scam, it is our mission to educate the public, and prevent crimes like these from occurring,” Judd said.

Detectives observed suspects 45-year-old Larry Nicholas and his son and 33-year-old Lawrence Nicholas performing driveway sealing at a home.

The homeowners told detectives that they were doing yard work when the men approached them driving a truck and pulling a trailer containing a 500-gallon tank of asphalt sealant.

The men solicited the homeowners to perform driveway sealant work for $1,300.

The homeowners admitted at one point they had second thoughts and asked the men if they were licensed or insured. According to the homeowners, they admitted they were not.

(Source: Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

According to detectives, the pair admitted they solicited the homeowners despite not having a home solicitation permit, occupational license or business tax receipt in Florida to conduct business, and also never obtained any form of workers comp insurance in Florida or any other state in which they conduct unsolicited asphalt sealant work.

Larry also allegedly stated that he owns the construction company called “Nicholas Contracting,” but does not claim any of his earnings from the numerous asphalt sealant jobs he performs illegally throughout Florida and the United States.

Detectives say the pair also admitted they have recently solicited and performed other construction work at random homes within Polk County, but did not know the addresses of those unknown victims.

The duo is facing first- and third-degree felony charges, including failure to secure workers compensation, and home solicitation without a permit.

If you suspect you have been a victim of this father-and-son duo, call police immediately and report it at 863-298-6200.


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