Fla. Couple Nailed in Home Repair Scheme

July 6, 2004

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell announced the arrest of a Tampa couple on felony grand theft charges for fraudulently collecting more than $140,000 for cabinets they never built. Operating through their business Mapletree Kitchens Inc., the couple victimized more than two dozen Floridians, according to the charging documents.

Ensley Roger Williams, 55, and Charlene Williams, 57, are accused of accepting a total of $140,655 in deposits from 28 customers after agreeing to build cabinets for them. Investigators with the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit and FDLE determined that the Williamses closed their business without leaving a forwarding address or telephone number and declined to contact any of the victims or complete the work for which they contracted.

“Unsuspecting citizens were hoping to make home improvements, and instead they were left high and dry,” said Crist. “We will do all we can to close the doors on businesses seeking to fleece the people of Florida.”

FDLE agents arrested Ensley and Charlene Williams in Lake County, and they were booked into the Lake County Jail.

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution charged each defendant with first-degree grand theft, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. The cabinet work involved in the case was to be performed at homes in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, thereby invoking the jurisdiction of the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

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