JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After an I-TEAM investigation led to homeowners around Florida contacting us about a Jacksonville contractor who had been arrested, prosecutors have upgraded the charges the contractor is facing.
Wyatt Green, the owner of Storm Restoration Specialists, LLC, or Storm RS, was arrested in April by insurance fraud investigators with Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis' office and charged with felony forgery, fraud and grand theft. Wednesday, prosecutors filed an amended court document upgrading the fraud and grand theft charges from second-degree felonies to first-degree felonies, due to the rising amount of money involved in the allegations. The forgery charge remains a third-degree felony.
Investigators said 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, told the I-TEAM Green and Storm RS didn't finish the work their insurance companies paid for.
Following the first I-TEAM report on Green’s arrest, we heard from a homeowner in Bay County, who said Green took $30,000 in insurance money, but didn’t repair the damage that Hurricane Michael did to his home last year. That homeowner is one of several who contacted the I-TEAM, and after we informed investigators about what these homeowners had experienced, they added more victims to the charges against Green.
Previously, the fraud charge against Green accused him of taking an amount less than $50,000. The updated charges accuse him of taking $50,000 or more. Similarly, the grand theft charge initially accused Green of taking a total between $20,000 and $100,000 from five victims. Now, a total of 10 victims are named in the charges, with a total dollar amount over $100,000.
When the I-TEAM confronted Green after his April arrest, he said, "I take full responsibility for any wrongdoing that I've done." Later, he responded to additional questions via email, including addressing the fact that he had been seen on video betting thousands of dollars at a local poker room, while out on bond. His bond conditions have since been changed to order him to “refrain from any form of gambling or games of chance.”
Green is due back in court July 1 for a pretrial hearing. With the upgraded charges, if convicted on all counts, he faces up to 65 years in prison.
The I-TEAM has also 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 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.
June 11, Brandon Williams and Chantel Williams pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. June 17, Nettles pleaded not guilty to her charges and waived her right to a speedy trial. Her next court hearing is set for July 16.
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