Roofing company owners plead not guilty to new felony charges

Adolph & John Carlson charged with grand theft, fraud in Jacksonville

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter, Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects, Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The brothers who own Carlson Enterprises, a Jacksonville roofing company that has been the subject of an I-TEAM investigation for more than a year, have pleaded not guilty to new first-degree felony charges of grand theft and fraud.

Prosecutors have accused Adolph and John Carlson of taking more than $100,000 from more than 20 customers in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties in 2017 and 2018, but never completing the roofing jobs. The I-TEAM was in a Duval County courtroom Monday morning as the brothers pleaded not guilty to the charges. Adolph Carlson was arrested in Jacksonville on May 16 on the new charges, and his brother turned himself in to deputies in Lake County several days later, on the outstanding warrant.

Daryl Strickland, who was Carlson Enterprises’ chief operating officer, faces the same charges. He turned himself in to Baker County deputies on April 30, and pleaded not guilty in Jacksonville on June 10.

According to court documents, after paying thousands of dollars to Carlson Enterprises, some of the customers had to hire another company to complete the roofing work at their homes.

Investigators also obtained sworn statements from three former Carlson Enterprises employees who said the company was not appropriately handling customer payments. The employees also told investigators that there were times they were not paid, while the Carlsons and Strickland continued to receive paychecks for $4,000 a week.

Patricia Tauch, owner of the Orange Park Kindergarten preschool, was one of the customers identified as a victim in this new case. She had paid Carlson Enterprises more than $16,000 for a roofing job that was never done. On Monday, she told the I-TEAM that she was pleased to see the state pushing forward with criminal charges.

The Carlson brothers were previously arrested in February to face fraud charges in Volusia County, in what prosecutors called “Operation Hurricane Hustle.” Prosecutors said they had identified 43 victims in St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties who had paid Carlson Enterprises a total of $455,660.84 for roofing jobs that weren’t done. Strickland was arrested in connection with that case two months later. All three are still awaiting trial on those charges.

In addition to the criminal cases, the Florida Attorney General’s office sued Carlson Enterprises over its business practices. The state also asked a judge to freeze the company’s assets, which the judge agreed to do.  That lawsuit is ongoing.

Last year, the Construction Industry Licensing Board took up 65 cases against Adolph Carlson, of Carlson Enterprises. He was accused of taking money from dozens of customers and then abandoning the jobs.  Customers filed complaints with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which then investigated the allegations.

The board accepted the penalty recommended by the attorney handling the case, which resulted in a fine in excess of $800,000, plus investigative costs, and restitution to the individual complainants.  Carlson’s license was also voluntarily relinquished.

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