JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After the I-TEAM spotted Jacksonville contractor and insurance fraud suspect Wyatt Green betting thousands of dollars at a poker room while out of jail on bond, the State Attorney's Office has had his bond conditions changed to keep him from betting or gambling while his case moves forward through the court system.
Green, the owner of Storm Restoration Specialists, LLC or Storm RS, was arrested last month by insurance fraud investigators with Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis' office and charged with felony forgery, fraud and grand theft.
Investigators say Green and staff members forged homeowners' signatures and used stamps purchased online with the names of mortgage companies in order to fraudulently endorse insurance check to pocket the money. Green is accused of taking thousands of dollars meant to pay for customers' repairs, only the work wasn't completed. Homeowners, including hurricane victims, tell the I-TEAM Green and Storm RS didn't finish the work their insurance companies paid for.
Caught on camera at the poker table
Following Green's arrest last month on fraud, forgery and grand theft charges, and his negotiated bond that kept him out of jail, the I-TEAM uncovered Green was captured on camera multiple times at a poker room putting thousands of dollars on the line.
"Wyatt up 13 hundred," can be heard on one of the videos.
On one night following his arrest, Green is seen wearing a black hat and white shirt taking part in a poker game that had a $2,000 minimum buy-in. At one point in the night, Green had a stack of nearly $10,000 worth of chips.
Customers who Green is accused of defrauding fear they may never get their money back, and it angers them to see him betting thousands of dollars in a Jacksonville poker room.
"That's infuriating," said Kristen Wright, one of the homeowners named as a victim in court documents in Green's case. "You know, he's telling everyone he's already settled and he's already paid and he hasn't. He's told everybody he's trying to make it right, and clearly he's not. He's still out for his own benefit and doing his thing,"
Wright said Green owes her more than $29,000 for renovations to her home that Green never finished.
Linda, another customer of Storm RS who asked we not release her last name, contacted the I-TEAM after a lien was placed on her property following business dealings with Green's company.
According to insurance documents, Green charged Linda's insurance company $22,500 to put a roof on her three bedroom home in Lakeland. What she didn't know was that Green doesn't have a roofing license, so Storm RS subcontracted with Central Florida Roofing to do the job for $7,374.91.
"About two weeks ago, we received a certified letter stating that we owe the roofing company (Central Florida Roofing) $7,374.91 because they hadn't been paid." said Linda.
The I-TEAM spoke to a spokesperson with Central Florida Roofing. We're told since Storm RS hasn't paid the company for the work, it put a lien on Linda's property. However, Green claims the lien on Linda’s home is fraudulent. He tells us Storm RS did pay Central Florida Roofing for the job and has the cashed pay stub that proves it.
"I will be more than willing to provide a cashed check made payable to Central Florida Roofing to the customer and assist in anyway I can," Green said.
Green says the I-TEAM was incorrect in this original report by stating Green profited nearly $15,000 from this specific job after the insurance company paid $22,500. He says he did pay Central Roofing $7,288, but it was for labor only. He says he paid $6,981 to a supply company for materials, and then commissions totaling $2,200 -- split among two sale reps and a sales manager.
"I think it's horrible. I wish there was a way that we could stop that from happening, but as a homeowner, I thought I was doing everything that I could to make sure that everything was ok," said Linda. "I think it's extremely dishonest."
With Green and his company accused of leaving customers with Storm RS' unpaid bills, homeowners alleging Green and his company didn't finish the work they were paid to do, and Green out on bond during his felony insurance fraud investigation, Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis said seeing Green on video betting thousands of dollars on poker doesn't sit well with him.
Patronis told the I-TEAM, "I don't have a financial balance sheet of what he looks like but it's concerning to me, as it is to anybody who is sitting out there in limbo and he's got work that he's supposed to be completing. At the same time the work is not being completed. What is essentially going to pay the work with, and is that my money on the table?"
I-TEAM alerts prosecutors to Green's poker bets
When the I-TEAM first spotted Green betting thousands on poker weeks ago, we contacted the State Attorney's Office to find out if it was a violation of his bond. At the time, we were told it wasn't.
But, the State Attorney's Office confirms after learning about Green's poker playing from us, it sought to have the contractor's bond conditions changed. Those changes - agreed to by all parties involved - were made on May 17.
The court order making the changes official reads in part:
"Defendant will refrain from any form of gambling or games of chance (including but not limited to visiting Best Bet or any other gambling establishment); and Defendant will refrain from taking any action that could be deemed as placing in jeopardy restitution funds that otherwise would go to repaying victims in the instant case."
The May 17 bond modification also includes an additional order for Green to refrain from harassing witnesses in person or electronically.
The I-TEAM spoke to Green about the poker playing over the phone and through email prior to the modifications to his bond. At that time Green said he had every right to enjoy the game of poker and said the money on the table doesn't belong to his customers -- but to him.
In response to our question about using the money to bet versus paying customers back he emailed this response:
"The funds requested by the state to pay to those customers are sitting in a trust account and being disbursed at the state's request."
Green's original bond agreement did include a payment of $10,000 toward existing victims in the case, which records show was paid on Tuesday. But, the State Attorney's Office confirms to the I-TEAM that $10,000 is only a portion, and does not include the full restitution amount.
Green says because he sold his company Storm RS to J. Rogero Roofing and Construction in December of 2018, he claims both Kristen Wright and Linda are the responsibility of Rogero Roofing -- not him. We've reached out to Rogero Roofing multiple times but have not heard back.
Green refused an on-camera interview but through his attorney, agreed to answer our questions over email. Below are our questions and Green's emailed responses:
I-TEAM question: It has come to our attention that Wyatt Green has been playing poker at Best Bet on at least 3 occasions in videos that were aired on Facebook. Why not use the money you brought to the table to instead start paying back the customers?
Green's response: “The funds requested by the state to pay to those customers are sitting in a trust account and being disbursed at the states request.”
I-TEAM question: Some of your former customers who are still are either owed money or owed services are concerned about recouping their losses after seeing Green at the poker table. Should they be?
Green's response: “No, however I would recommend reaching out to J Rogero Construction for those refunds seeing as that corporation obtain $500,000 to fulfill those customers jobs.”
I-TEAM question: How much money do you spend on poker?
Green's response: “My legal hobby has a positive YTD net”
I-TEAM question: You claimed you had power of attorney over some of your customers which allowed you to cash their insurance checks. According to Florida law, the power of attorney document should be signed in the presence of 2 witnesses and has to be notarized. Were witnesses present and notaries present with the customer?
Green's response: “The power of Attorney clause in the original contract the customer signed is on the front page in plain site (sic), no customer can legitimately dispute they did not understand what they were signing or the reason why we had such a clause.”
I-TEAM question: Did you purchase stamps online for mortgage lenders and banks? If so, did you use those stamps to endorse insurance checks?
Green's response: My intention was always to take care of the customers projects as quickly as possible.
I-TEAM question: Have you ever taken a customer’s money without doing the services agreed upon? Green's response: No.
Employees charged in Wyatt Green's investigation
The I-TEAM has learned three others have been charged by state insurance fraud investigators looking into Green and his business.
Brandon Williams, Chantel Williams and Tina Nettles were all charged last week with felony forgery. Chantel Williams and Tina Nettles both face a second felony charge related to notarizing documents known to be fraudulent. All three turned themselves in and were released on bond.
We have updated this information from our original posting as Green told the I-TEAM we incorrectly identified all suspects as Storm RS employees. We are clarifying each suspect’s relationship and now including details from the arrest warrants and investigators.
Brandon Williams: According to the arrest warrant for Brandon Williams, he told state investigator he had been a Storm RS employee, but was terminated in January 2018 for not meeting sales standards. However, the warrant says Green approached Williams about “earning money stamping checks,” claiming he would pick the checks up from Green, and they would have the customers’ signatures already affixed.
According to the warrant, investigators were questioning Brandon Williams about fraudulent bank and mortgage stamps Green was alleged to have used in order to forge insurance check endorsements and cash them. Williams was asked what happened if he (himself) had a check that did not coincide with the stamps he had. Williams stated Green “showed me how to order them,” and Williams would pick them up from a specific Jacksonville company using an alias “Blake Jordan.”
Williams’ warrant states investigators then asked that same Jacksonville company that Williams claimed he ordered stamps and picked them up under the alias “Blake Jordan,” to search records for purchases made by “Blake Jordan” as well as Wyatt Green’s name and the Storm RS name. It found 58 different products were ordered across 31 different internet orders between Dec. 6, 2017 and Jan. 21, 2019. And, all of the products ordered were self-inking rubber stamps.
Chantel Williams: According to the arrest warrant for Chantel Williams, she worked with For Green at Storm RS as a regular office employee and “worked hard to get promoted to office manager.” She said she maintained that role after the merger with Rogero Roofing.
Much of her warrant is redacted, but she was questioned about her alleged role in forging customer signatures on permit applications and notice of commencements, as well as notarizing documents for the company.
Tina Nettles: The I-TEAM put in a public records request May 17 for Tina Nettles’ arrest warrant, and we are still waiting to receive it. However, investigators in this case tell us Nettles was an employee of Rogero Roofing at the time of the merger, and that’s when she met Chantel Williams.
According to investigators, Nettles stated Chantel Williams instructed her to forge and fraudulently notarize documents and feared her job was in jeopardy if she did not do as instructed.
If you have a complaint against Wyatt Green or Storm Restoration Specialists, contact the following agencies:
- Better Business Bureau or call 904-721-2288
- Florida's Chief Financial Officer or call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236)
- Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or call 1-850-487-1395
You can also contact the I-TEAM at ITEAM@News4JAX.com or call or text us at 904-479-NEWS.