JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man was arrested Thursday after more than a dozen homeowners said he kept insurance money they paid him for roofing work instead of paying the real roofers who fixed the damage.
Juan Carlos Gonzalez, 58, is charged with schemes to defraud and misappropriation of construction funds.
A source told News4Jax there are at least 20 local homeowners involved with a loss of at least $50,000.
The News4Jax I-TEAM discovered Gonzalez was indicted in 2008 for similar fraud charges and served seven years in a federal prison. Within months of being released, he started South East Florida Holdings, which he advertised as a roofing company.
Amy Chesson said she’s relieved Gonzalez has been arrested.
“My signature was forged to my insurance company, stating all work was complete and up to my satisfaction,” Chesson said. “It’s not even close.”
Chesson told the I-TEAM that she has documents that prove Gonzalez took advantage of her.
“I’m lost at how I’m going to recoup this money. And all of the other homeowners involved in it, if they don’t pay up, they are going to lose their homes,” Chesson said.
She said she met Gonzalez after her roof was damaged in a storm last year. Chesson said she was under the impression Gonzalez and his company were replacing the roof.
She said her insurance company sent her the first check, she signed off on it, but the next check was mailed directly to Gonzalez. She said he forged her signature without permission.
“When I got the letters from ABC Supply Company stating that a lien was taken out on my house for nonpayment, I contacted Juan Carlos Gonzalez to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? You need to pay these people. They said they didn’t receive a payment.’ And he said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about. I’ve got it. I’ve got it.’ And I said, ‘OK,’” explained Chesson.
But according to her, nothing was paid. Then another lien was taken out on her home, this time from the actual company that replaced her roof, Great White Construction. It was also not paid. Chesson said during the construction, siding had to be removed from her home to replace the roof, and that part of the job was not completed by Gonzalez's company.
She said to avoid losing her home she had to borrow money from her 401K to pay Great White Construction.
Chesson said she's worried about other victims who now may also have liens taken out on their homes.
Gonzalez will have his first court appearance Friday morning. He’s being held at the Duval County jail on a $100,000 bond, according to jail records.